Tonight, I am grateful for the opportunity I had to meet, fellowship with, and now to remember, Brother Orvis Chaffin. Bro. Orvis was a part of the CAPS class that met at Jenny’s Creek Gospel Church and Stepptown Baptist Church in Kermit, West Virginia, in 2008. (He is pictured on the far left in the photo.)
Bro. Orvis laid aside this earthly tent on August 17th at the age of 63. I am thankful Bro. Keith Walsworth and I were able to be with his family and friends at his memorial service today.
I was reminded of some specific things for which we can praise God in Bro. Orvis’ life:
1. His desire for God to be glorified, regardless of whether he lived or died. Pastor William Reeves spoke in the service about Bro. Orvis’ desire to glorify God whether in life or in death, echoing the desire Paul expressed in Philippians 1:20. Bro. Orvis expressed this desire even in the face of treatment for an illness from which he knew he might not recover.
2. The power of God’s Word to change a man. Several people indicated a distinct change in Bro. Orvis due to the working of God in His life, as he heard the Word of God, and developed a deep love for the Bible that resulted in a desire to learn to how to study it, and to share it with others — whether in a Sunday School class, behind the pulpit as interim pastor, or personally. Here was a man with evidence that His life was not centered on himself, but on God and others.
3. Gratefulness for God’s work in His life. This was evident in Bro. Orvis’ desire to serve God, his love for the church, and tangible expressions of gratefulness to others.
I did not have occasion to see my brother very many times face to face, and wish I could have seen him more, but I cherish those few and all too brief times. I am blessed, humbled, and instructed by his example. I look forward to meeting him again someday, because God changed the life of this man, whose trust was not in Himself, but in His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Please pray for his family, friends, and Stepptown Baptist Church in this difficult time. This is the hope we have, even in the face of temporary grief, if we know Jesus:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18