A Godly Man

Daniel 6:3-5

The main text for my sermon is Psalm 1 which sets forth the characteristics of the godly person. I will not be reading that psalm, but you will find allusions to it in what I have to share.

My other text, which I will share, is from Daniel 6:3-5: Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps,

because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God."

These words are written about Daniel, a statesman, public servant and politician. It is so easy to be cynical these days. . .until you run across a man of integrity like Daniel, or Joseph, or Elwin. While it seems astounding to meet such a person, the fact that they do indeed exist is very reassuring that God’s person is able to function publicly and openly even in the midst of hostility, jealousy and corruption. That a man of integrity, a godly person, actually exists is reassuring, but that God can promote such a person to a place of highest usefulness is wonderful. Nothing in the word of God is written negatively about Daniel, or Joseph. I have never heard anything negative said about Elwin, and knowing him well, if I should hear such a thing, I would be prone to discount it. Elwin is known as a man of God. He walked with God like Joseph, like Daniel, like Enoch and Moses and, of course, like the Lord he loved the most and knew. And it was because of the divine company he kept that Elwin came to exhibit the character for which he is known.

Elwin functioned for years as an elder in the church. He attained that rank through faithfulness. He began humbly enough, a servant’s servant. He was caretaker of the church. He cleaned the church and he was the one who, while the church was one wood heat, began stoking the furnace on bitter Saturday nights so that the sanctuary would be warm on Sunday mornings. His love for the church was built from the ground up. He lived in the days when the church had a livery for the horses and he lived beside the road as a good and friendly neighbor for years. He was also uncompromising about the truth, doing what was right rather than what was expedient. He didn’t condone what passes for church politics in many churches. He certainly believed in conducting the business of the church in a loving and appropriate biblical manner. He has very fond memories of many past pastors—especially Mildred Huffman who, with Elwin, saw the church through perhaps the bleakest time in its 175 years of service to Jesus Christ. Together, they saw the church reborn and revived.

Elwin could be counted on to do the right thing. And through his counsel with the Holy Spirit, he often knew what that was. I can testify that Elwin was very capable of seeing through the fog that others got lost in. He ordered his life around godly counsel. He was never above learning more about the Lord—he was faithful in Sunday School. Funny, how one of the wisest of those amongst us determined to be there not because it was convenient, but because it was right. Secondly, Elwin sought to surround himself with other believers. He was friendly to unbelievers, too. Thirdly, the word of God was his delight (Psalm 1.2); it was his enjoyment, encouragement and refreshment. He always knew where his bible was, or was looking for it! He meditated on it frequently, absorbing it bit by bit into his mind and being. It was the source of his success as a person. If people were being saved, learning how to pray, loving each other and the word of God, he was happy, no, he was blessed.

Elwin also navigated the ordeals of life successfully. The storms did not move him because his spiritual roots were well-developed and unshakable. Elwin was also fruitful. Even though he became a family man late in life, he reveled in it and he invested himself in those that life had gifted him with! He was godly in patience. He knew how to wait and did so. . .as a result, good things came to him. Friends. neighbors, yes, many good things. He invested in life, in the future right up until the end and in all these ways Elwin was a prosperous man. Elwin was also a stubborn man. And he was content with more than most folks can barely stand. . .he could also be crotchety. Yes, he was anxious and he fretted about the disabilities of old age, but that was because of his drive to serve. It broke his heart to say to the church he loved, "I just can’t do it any more." We would do well to call him blessed, but we should do better to remember that he was a blessing!

It all began when he received the Lord. That can happen for you. Some of you seated here this day. . .you could chose Christ. You could choose to make the Word of God the source of your personal success. Then you can begin to be all that God planned for you to be. . . and you will be needed in the home, in the town, in the church, in the world. I surely hope that you know a godly person, but more than that I hope that, as a living memorial to Elwin Packard, you will choose to be one!

Amen.