Heaven is about to welcome another of earth’s most precious jewels. My uncle, Gene Chumley, is winding down. He is going to be with Jesus very soon.
Uncle Gene is up on the list of beautiful spirits, cherished people. He loved God. He served God. He loved God’s people.
Uncle Gene married Andy and me. When others around me were concerned that Andy wasn’t yet a Christian, my uncle reminded me to hold strong to God’s word. He gave me a promise from God’s before the wedding, I Peter 3:1-2. He encouraged me to bank on it – God’s word, God’s promise.
God is true to His word. Andy is now a Christian. Andy loves God’s word.
Uncle Gene would let me ask him tough questions about the Bible. I trusted that he wouldn’t dilute God’s teaching because societal circumstances were changing. He would talk about stuff and not shy away from it. And our topics ran the gamut. We talked about traditions, music, baptism, divorce, you name it. He never judged me because of the questions I asked.
He always sought to bring people together – to set aside differences or conflicts and try to come together and enjoy the limited time that we had together. And believe me, in my mother’s family, there were many challenges (no offense, Mom). I think between Uncle Gene and my dad, I have learned the value in just stepping back and letting some things happen.
Uncle Gene would stand up when it was necessary. He tried not to let the weak get trampled on. But one of his special gifts was loving people through the ugly. He honored my granny (his mother in law, my mom’s mom) because she was family. He, like my mom, taught me that it’s more about doing what is right – in this case, honoring the parent – than it is about being right.
I’m sure he had his faults; don’t we all. But he loved God. He lived it, and he taught it. My life has been blessed because he taught me.