I have heard stories for years now about Pastor Stuckey and this past week I finally got to meet him. Pastor Stuckey is 97 years old and they say he is dying. You never know exactly what to expect when you are going into the home of a person who is dying, (especially a person who is that old and dying) but I guess I expected to find a dim and somber scene, serious and heavy with the weight of life and death. That’s not what I found. Tom and I pulled up into the driveway and were greeted by a fired-up dachshund barking his head off from inside the house. Once we went in, the barking was drowned out by laughter… Pastor Stuckey’s laughter.
Charles Stuckey was the lay pastor of Berean Bible Church in Knoxville for 30 years. He was my pastor’s pastor and my mentor’s mentor. Over the past nine years, I have heard story after story about Pastor Stuckey… about how he has entire books of the Bible memorized, about how he preached for 23 years out of the book of Revelation, about how he has a set of red PJ’s laid out beside his bed that he wants to go to heaven in and about how he is the sweetest person on this planet. Tom told me that when he was young and fired up about learning as much as possible, he was reading books like Evidence That Demands a Verdict so that he could defend and prove the validity of faith in Christ. Then he met Pastor Stuckey… and with that evidence, the case was closed.
Our visit to Pastor Stuckey’s house was a twenty-five minute flurry of emotions… When we walked into the room, he was seated on the couch reading. He closed his book and called us over so he could hug and kiss us. After that, he started talking and laughing so fast, that I had trouble keeping up. The entire time we were there he only stopped laughing one time and it was so he could tell us about a girl whose daughter he had prayed for had met Christ. When he told that one, he cried… and then he laughed again. I have never seen anything like him. He was literally bursting with joy! He had zero cares or worries and his face was filled with the light of untarnished mirth.
Tom said that Pastor Stuckey has been like that for thirty years. Later on I asked him, “How is that possible? What makes him like that?” Tom said that he just believes the simple Gospel without complicating it. He lets it remain simple and he just really believes it. Psalm 68:3 says, "May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.”
The righteous are supposed to be glad… and how did we get to be righteous? Jesus paid for and forgave all our sins absolutely for free because He just loves us… now we’ll never be punished for them and we’ll live forever in heaven… in perfect bliss with Him. Do you believe that? Do believe it enough to stop being sad? We like to complicate this message to make our life and problems a much bigger deal than they are, but what if we just really believed the Gospel… wouldn’t just about everything be something to laugh about?