Honor, a source of credit or distinction (www.dictionary.com), given to a warrior has become a driving force in Mission M25 and my personal life. After riding Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge in 2014 under the banner of honor, respect, compassion and integrity, these words carry much more weight in my life. Honor, something you give because of the individual’s position in life and respect, something the individual earns.
M25 has honored many warriors, fallen or deceased military, policemen and firemen. It has become one of the greatest driving forces of our labors, which has taken us from shore to shore and Texas to North Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada and Israel with an upcoming trip to a ride across Europe. It was our distinguished honor to ride along side those who may never darken a church door to honor one of their own. The attendance, the brotherhood, the honor, the lines of flags flying, etc is nothing short of inspiring.
We have joined rides for biker club brothers to honor their own. It was amazing to see the commitment of these brothers, who knew nothing of the man but that he was a club brother. Individuals would ride taxing hours to get to the service from several states away.
Standing in so many lines, so many funerals and watching the honor bestowed upon individuals for the sacrifice they had given to make this world a better place or the love of the club not only inspired me, but gave me a new determination, honor the Spritual Warriors of our church. Honoring a warrior inspires young people to dedicate their life to service.
On April 28, 2017, the opportunity to give honor to one such warrior, Rev. Oscar Bryant in Appomattox, Virginia. I had never met this warrior, never heard him preach or read of any great battles he had fought until that day. After listening to his son-in-law, Rev. Bill Terry, his nephew, Rev Rickey Hackett, his grandson, Rev. Greg Terry and finally his son, Bishop Garry Bryant, it was evident he was a man deserving of honor. He never pastored a large church, never rose to conference or denominational leadership. It appeared he was a logger turned preacher, good with his hands at fixing just about anything that would break but he loved God and loved His Word, the Bible. He still had a fire in him that would stand up against a wrong physically and stand for truth with the same passion.
The Kingdom of God is built by individuals who will for the most part, go unnoticed by the world in large. There must be more honor given to these type of warriors to inspire young men and women to dedicate themselves to the Lord. May this quote burn in our hearts, ‘The only guarantee in life is death, but the only thing worse than death, is to be forgotten’. The church cannot afford the legacy of ‘using an individual and when they are no longer of use, forget them’.
The IPHC is blessed to have current leadership committed to honor as much as possible. We all understand, our four General Leaders cannot get to all the funerals of individuals such as Rev. Bryant but they have committed that one of them will be at every former Conference Superintendent or Bishop. Personally, I have missed two heroes home going celebration, Rev. Archie Cooper and Rev. Ralph Davis due to my being on the east coast and scheduled to speak, therefore, we must remember at times it is just not possible.
It was a blessing to see three National Leaders, Bishop D Chris Thompson; the Conference Bishop and approximately ten pastors. It is my hope the family will remember the sacrifice of Rev. Bryant was not forgotten and the rewards awaiting him in heaven is being enjoyed.