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A Good Epitaph

This is a story from my first book, Stories from the Creekbank. It concerns a memorable person from Galveston, Texas. The plaque mentioned is at sidewalk level atop the sea wall. 

Stories from the Creekbank, Cover

A Good Epitaph to Have. . .

 

Have you ever thought about what epitaph you’d like to have? Recently as I walked along the seawall in Galveston, I saw one I admired. A plaque there read:

In memory of Leroy Columbo

1905–1974

A deaf mute who risked his own life repeatedly to save more than one thousand

lives from drowning in the waters surrounding Galveston Island.

Leroy Columbo GalvestonScreen Shot 2016-08-07 at 6.04.23 PM

As I looked out over the Gulf of Mexico, I wondered about what kind of man Leroy Columbo was. Evidently here was a man who exhibited a passion for saving lives. I suspect he was a man who overcame his physical challenges, and put every fiber of his being into the life-saving business. gazed down the beach, I could nearly see Leroy Columbo sitting alertly on his lifeguard stand. There he was—the most focused lifeguard on Galveston Island. I can picture him sitting on his perch oblivious to the surrounding honking horns and squealing children. His focused gaze surveyed the waters for the signs of a swimmer in distress.

Gazing down the beach, I could nearly see Leroy Columbo sitting alertly on his lifeguard stand. There he was—the most focused lifeguard on Galveston Island. I can picture him sitting on his perch oblivious to the surrounding honking horns and squealing children. His focused gaze surveyed the waters for the signs of a swimmer in distress.

I can imagine his joy as he handed a rescued child over to a terrified mother—how many lives and families were changed by his life-saving work! With each saving act, his passion grew deeper to do what he was born to do—save lives.

As I stood there, I thought about the job of Dry Creek Baptist Camp. Our reason to exist is to be a place where Jesus rescues souls in need of God’s grace. That is to be our focus and passion. Just as Leroy Columbo did, our focus and concentration must be on the job God has called Dry Creek to do: being an environment where God’s presence is felt and lives are changed.

As we see what God has done this summer we are so thankful. We cannot change one single life‑ only God can touch lives as we’ve seen. All of the over three hundred fifty salvations this summer are God’s work‑ not ours. Whether it is a seven-year-old asking Jesus into her tender heart, a rebellious teen repenting and turning to God, a high school senior surrendering to missions, or an adult counselor making a decision to be a better parent, lives are changed by God at Dry Creek.

I’m convinced that now is one of the most important times for presenting the gospel to today’s generation of young people. Never has there been a greater need. . . or a better opportunity. Youth today are not satisfied with worldly things and are sincerely searching for what we know is the answer—a personal relationship with God.

. . .And those of us who serve in Dry Creek’s ministry, especially those of you who labor by praying faithfully, are a key part of what God is doing.

Let’s keep our gaze out on the waters as we strive to reach those who need the life‑changing news of how much God loves them. Let’s do whatever it takes to serve and minister to others! What greater privilege is there in life than to be part of a person coming to know Jesus Christ.

LeroyColumboSketcht 2016-08-07 at 6.03.27 PM

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

– Luke 15:10

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About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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