It is a palpable error of some ministers, who make such a disproportion between their preaching and their living, who study hard to preach exactly, and study little or not at all to live exactly.Richard Baxter
In a small wooden pew in Blue Mountain Baptist church is where I heard my first calling of sorts. This was a mill town, a company town, on the outskirts of Anniston, Alabama where in the early 1980’s manufacturing was dying. The steepled brick church, however, was where I came to know Jesus. But this is not meant to be a tribute to my salvation experience. It is meant as a reflection on the pastor of Blue Mountain at that time when I was young. I learned that Brother Roy Cordle (1940-2022) died on the last day of the year in 2022. This was a man who devoted his life to living exactly as he spoke. A man behind a pulpit one Sunday night spoke to the heart of a six-year-old boy about Jesus. He announced good news that pierced and entered my life. I remember clearly going home and asking my father about how Jesus could ‘enter’ my life not knowing that he already had that very night. My father led me to Christ, but Roy’s sermon was used by the Holy Ghost that night.
He was also the man who discipled my mother and father in the Christian faith. My father credits him for helping him understand the fullness of what Christianity had to offer. It was because of Roy’s teaching that my father had a bookshelf full of Christian thought leaders. It was because of Roy’s leadership that my father had the book “God in The Dock “Essays on Theology and Ethics” by C.S. Lewis on the third shelf of that plywood bookrest. A book that totally changed the direction of my life when I picked it up to read as a junior in high school. When it came time to marry my incredible wife there was no other person I wanted to officiate the wedding than Roy. I still remember his hand on my shoulder as I waited to leave to take my place before the ceremony. Facing one of the biggest moments of my life, his presence was one of calm comfort. His hand placed me under the water for baptism and his countenance stood tall as he guided my wife and I through matrimony.
Fast forward almost 40 years from that fateful night at Blue Mountain and Brother Roy’s life is finally in full view. In his obituary you see that he pastored churches and touched lives, but what I find remarkable is that he did it without one thought of celebrity. In a weird time where church leaders seek prominence Brother Roy was quietly and simply living the life of Christ. We talk in the apologetic world of being an “ambassador” and how that looks different depending on every situation. But what is universal about being Christ’s representative is that you don’t seek out significance in your work. We are supposed to seek Jesus who was the most exceptional human ever to live. Being noteworthy in Jesus’ kingdom is living as he lived. A monumental life to me, a life well lived, is found in a life lived exactly like Brother Roy.
Bro. Roy Lamar Cordle Obituary – Visitation & Funeral Information (millerfuneralhomeoxford.com)