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A Tribute to a Faithful Man
Bobbie Estes is a beloved and cherished friend and brother in the sweet fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ. I had the privilege of serving our God and Savior with him as his pastor for thirty-two years. In all those years, the one word that best characterizes his remarkable pilgrimage through this world, in my opinion (and in the opinion expressed to me by numerous others), is Ňfaithful.Ó Bobbie was a faithful man. I never knew him to miss a worship service, if he was physically able to attend.
But that does not begin to describe my friendŐs faithful service to our Redeemer and his people. Though he never knew that I knew it, Bobbie very generously supported the cause of Christ, giving generously to the needs of missionaries, pastors, and churches around the world.
Bobbie Estes loved the gospel of GodŐs free and sovereign grace and loved those men who faithfully preach it: election and predestination, limited atonement, and irresistible grace, and the sure preservation of believing sinners in Christ by GodŐs almighty grace. It was always a delight to preach to him as he soaked in the gospel like a dry sponge soaks in water.
Shortly after publicly confessing his God given faith in Christ by believerŐs baptism, one day I saw him drive up with mowing equipment. He was not asked and did not offer to undertake the work. He just unloaded his tractor and mower and started mowing. He saw something that needed to be done and did it. — He did it every week for the next thirty years!
After a while, I asked if I could call upon him to read Scripture and pray for us during our worship services. He was reluctant, but agreed to do so. After a few months, he said to me, ŇBro. Fortner, before the Lord saved me, when I went to church at that other place, when they asked me to pray, I never gave it a thought. It didnŐt bother me one bit. But here things are different. When I try to read or pray here, I am scared to death.Ó He took the worship of God seriously.
It is a very rare thing for me to comment on the public prayers offered by any man. But when Bobbie led us in prayer, from his infancy in Christ, until the Lord called him home to Glory last week, I was always struck by the simplicity, honesty, and earnestness of his confession of sin, gratitude to God for his grace, and intercessions for others, particularly for his pastor. Bobbie was not a man given to openly express affection, but he loved his pastor dearly and his pastor knew it.
How thankful I am that the God of all grace made Bobbie Estes a part of my life, a rich, rich part of my life! In thirty-two years he never once spoke in my hearing or to my knowledge an evil word about any of his church family, including his pastor. He never offered an opinion about how things ought to be done in the church or what we should not have done. He just mowed the grass, gave generously, prayed earnestly, and ordered his life around the worship of our God, doing what he could for the glory of God. — What a faithful, faithful man!