This morning I was thinking about our son, Spencer, and the little man he is trying to become at the age of 6. He is so much of what I dreamed of having in a son. Sometimes I think he is “too good to be true.” Truly, God blessed us with this precious little package of Heaven. Spencer is almost an exact replica of his daddy. They walk the same, sit the same, like the same foods, talk the same…it’s almost eerie how much alike they are and I’ so glad about that.
But, Spencer’s name comes from another man who had an amazing impact and influence on my life. Richard Spencer was the first person in life (other than my parents) that I idolized. He was the song leader, assistant pastor, Christian school teacher, and everything-else-the-church-needed…at the church and school where I grew up. When you think of Bible Baptist Church in Hazard, Kentucky during the time period of 1970-1980’s, you think of two men; Sam Fugate who founded and pastored the church and Richard Spencer. Oh yes, there were plenty of other people who were core members and great leaders in the church but Richard was the quiet strength that held things together. He began transporting my siblings and I to church when we were pre-teens. He made sure we had a way to get to church and church related activities. He was a single man, just out of college, who truly invested his life in reaching other kids. He led me to the Lord when I doubted whether I was saved or not. He was my mentor during my teenage years. There were very few details of my life that he didn’t know…and still he loved me and believed in me. He encouraged me musically to play piano and sing in church. He taught me academically from 7th grade to the end of high school. He taught me to write stories, give speeches, perform oral arguments and dramatic dialogues at state competitions. Mostly, he taught me to love God and serve Him with my life. He was everything a teenager needed in a mentor, teacher, and coach.
When life got real tough for me in the mid 1990’s, even though I had been grown and gone from his watchcare for 10 years…it was to Richard Spencer that I ran. Again, he mentored me during an incredibly rough period in my life. Now, he was pastoring (and still is today) the Big Branch Baptist Church in Hindman, Kentucky, and he became my temporary pastor and helped counsel me when I would have probably listened to no one else. I always said he hung the moon and during that year that I was back under his leadership, he celebrated his 40th birthday and I wrote a poem about “The Man Who Hung the Moon.” Dr. Jack Hyles often said that no young person would go astray or take their own life if they truly believed that there was one person in the world who truly believed in them. Richard Spencer has been that one person in my life.
So, when we knew we were expecting a boy, we decided to name him Spencer Michael after both Richard and my husband, Mike. Being able to say “Spencer” dozens of times a day, reminds me of the person he is named for. It is also a challenge to me to train him to be worthy of his name. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:1 that “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” Our son has a good name and a heritage of which to be proud.
So thank you, Richard, for having a name that was worthy to pass along to our son. Thank you for your investment in my life. Only Heaven will reveal all of the lives you have touched through your ministry. But I know, for sure, that you touched mine. I love you, respect you, trust you, admire you, and appreciate you!
As Christians, we all have a good name. We are namesakes of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. I want to make Him proud and not bring reproach upon His name. I want to live my life in a way that brings honor to the name of Christ. When I fail (as often I do) it brings disgrace to His name. My heart longs to lift up the name of Christ in the eyes of the world and to not harm the cause of Christ in any way. I want to live every day, mindful of my namesake. What heritage do you have? Who are the people in your life that invested in you? Are you bringing honor to their name? Is your life making them proud?
Just something to ponder today…from my heart!