My friend/mentor, Roland Shaurette died last week in a car accident. He was only 48 years old. He left behind a beautiful wife and three beautiful daughters, as well as many others. And though I have only known Roland for a short time, and haven’t seen him much these last 5 years, the impact he had on my life will last into eternity.

Ya see, upon my release from prison on June 1, 2010 I had only been born again for a little over a year. I had lived a criminal lifestyle for 33 years and didn’t know to function in a “normal” way in any area of my life, and though the Holy Spirit was doing a tremendous work in me, there are things that people must show you and hold you accountable for in order to change.

Upon my release, I got involved in a men’s bible study and group called: “The Band Of Brothers.” About 10 men met at the State Farm Insurance building on Monday nights and we went through the book of Proverbs together, usually only covering one verse a night! Roland was one of the men in that group.

None of these men judged me or looked down on me, but took me into their fold with love, respect (which I didn’t have to “earn”), and edification. I looked up to all these men because I respected them all, and came from all walks of life. They helped me with my faith walk, but also held me accountable and pointed out things in a loving manner that I needed to hear. Roland was a big muscle bound teddy bear, just your average blue-collar working type, and didn’t have an extravagant vocabulary or years of theology training, but instead, just a humble man who came to know Jesus recently himself and loved talking about Him, sharing Him and learning about Him. 

I attended a few meetings together with Roland called: “Leading with Power,” and was privileged to work alongside him when he was making pulled pork for the football booster fundraiser at the park one time. But no matter where we met or ran into each other, I always lit up when I saw him!

Ya see, Roland did say anything overly profound to me, or wasn’t a “teacher” in the sense that he sat me down and went through scriptures with me, but rather he LIVED IT OUT! Just observing Roland in his capacity as a husband, father, boss in a business, and how he dealt with people was something that spoke volumes to me, and he did that.

And evidently, that is how he impacted so many around him. The 2 days of the visitation and funeral, thousands of people gathered! What a testimony to Christ! What a testimony to one man and the impact he can have on so many, NOT by being a theologian or knowing tons of bible scriptures or being a pastor, but simply because he loved Jesus and lived for Him! One of the many emotional moments at Roland’s funeral is when almost 50 of the Chi High football team members walked in with their jersey’s on and lined both sides of the walls in the church!

Yes, it is sad we all lost a great man, but unlike those who are lost and have no hope, we have the assurance of where Roland is right now, and have no doubt that immediately upon his death, he heard the words: “Well done good and faithful servant.” Though there is a grieving over his loss, there is great joy in the man he was, and that he is with the very One he lived his life for!

There is a major difference when you go to the funeral of someone who is a believer and someone who is not. When one is not a believer and their family are not believers, there is much sorrow, loss, grief, and sadness. But for those who are believers, there is great joy amidst the grieving!! It is a celebration of LIFE rather than death. 

Hebrews 9:27 says: “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…” Are you prepared for that? Do you have a future and a hope? Are you confident where you will be if you died today? Whether you believe it or not, ALL knees will bow before the throne of God for judgment, and the ONLY way to be found innocent is through the blood of Jesus Christ and knowing and living for Him. If you don’t know Him, today is the day. Jeremiah 33:3 says: “Call unto me and I WILL answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.” Call to Jesus today, believe on Him and live for him, then get involved with a local church who will set you up with a disciple maker like Roland!

Also See: Brian Cole: The Cost of Being Cool

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