Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

The Funeral Of A Mentor

Written By: richardwcraver - Nov• 06•18

Today I went to funeral of my earliest Christian mentor, Robert Ore. When I first met him

he was carrying on an animated conversation with my sister and a friend, JoAnn. I honestly did not know what to think of him. I soon found him to be one of the most real Christian men I would know.

Robert was what we called a Southside Boy around Winston-Salem. He grew up poor on the rough side of town. He had teachers that ‘knew’ he wouldn’t amount to anything and positively ignored him. This was in a different era, and he was passed on from grade to grade until he was old enough to drop out of school, functionally illiterate.

His story might have ended there, his life may have ended on the streets with drugs and alcohol, in fact that was his life for a number of years. But God had another plan. Robert met a girl, Gail. I’m sure her parents thought she had lost her mind dating and becoming engaged to a street kid. But God had a plan.

The pastor that was to marry them met with them for marriage counseling, and soon enough got around to talking to Robert about his spiritual walk and eternity. Robert didn’t need his arm twisted to admit he was a sinner, he knew what he was. Maybe that came from being told for so many years he would amount to nothing, that he was trash. In God’s economy he had worth, he had redemption, he had salvation. God saved that rough Southside Boy and things started changing, slowly at first, but change things did.

Robert became a student of the Word of God, going to Forsyth Tech at night to learn to read and listening to Bible teaching on the radio.

So where did I come into this? Robert took notice of a church boy that had grown up in church, that read his Bible, but knew something wasn’t right. You see I grew up in a liberal denomination that preached nice little sermons about love, peace, happiness and history; but not about weightier matters of sin and judgement, or repentance and redemption. Robert took me under his wing with the simple profound truth of the Gospel. We studied scripture together, we prayed together, we went to Bible teaching churches and meetings together.

At one such meeting in August of 1983 I came face to face with Jesus the Christ as the story of a Pharisee, Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night was told from the book of John, Chapter 3.

I was like Nicodemus, I had the right lineage in the church, I sang in the choir, played in the band, I tithed, I was a summer camp counselor, a ‘good kid’; but I was lost without Christ. As Christ himself said, I needed to be born again. I came face to face with the fact I am a sinner, and the penalty for sin, death. But I also came face to face with the reality that Jesus came in flesh, and died as my substitute so I could have life. It was a gift I didn’t deserve, but in order to have it, I had to acknowledge my sinfulness and accept His gift of eternal life and live for him.

I was not the only young person that Robert mentored. Sadly some chose to go a different road. But God chose to use a foolish, illiterate guy from the bad side of town to reach me and others for His glory.

1st Corinthians 1

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[d]

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One Comment

  1. JuliAnn Craver says:

    Well spoken! I wish I could have known him too.

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