Sunday morning, as I was finishing my prep for worship that day, I got a text from my wife that a friend of ours had died suddenly. He went into the hospital one day last week for what he thought was a kidney stone. It turned out to be an aneurysm, and all too quickly, Bill Bondurant was gone.
Bill was a numbers kind of guy. He understood money and management, and he handled both well. But while Bill served faithfully for years in the finance office at Kentucky Christian University, he won’t be remembered most for what he did – but how he lived. His job didn’t define him; his faith did.
My best memories of Bill and his wife Donette and their six children were when I would go over to their house as a college student. Truth be told – I was more interested in going over to their place because of who I was with – my girlfriend, who would eventually become my wife.
But the Bondurants’ house was truly a home, full of conversation, laughter, kids, and instruction – in other words, the joyful craziness of life. Ultimately, Bill will not be defined for what he did as KCU’s CFO; he will be remembered for the way he loved, served, and cared for his family and for others. In other words, Bill lived well. He loved God, he loved his family, he loved the college he served – and he loved people.
Bill knew a secret that far too many people forget. Life isn’t about what you accomplish 9 to 5. It’s about how you live 24/7. And Bill lived well. And so, as Kim and I walked through the receiving line in the KCU chapel, you could see the impact of Bill’s life on his family. And you could see it in the number of people who turned out.
There was a sadness, yes. A hurting and a longing, sure. But beneath all of it there was – and is – a hope. In a God who is real. And present. And faithful.
Death is never easy. It often comes too soon. And grief is both natural and normal. But for people who follow a resurrected Lord, there is something even deeper and more powerful than grief. Or Death.
It’s life. A life rooted in the life of Jesus. A life where even Death does not have the final word. In the end, Bill died well because he lived well. And showed the rest of us what life is about.
So, you want to die well? Then live well. And live faithfully, trusting in the One who is The Resurrection and The Life. And when your time comes, those who love you will grieve. But grief won’t have the last word. Nor will Death. Jesus will.
Thanks, Bill, for helping teach me this truth. See you soon.