Another Look by David Faust
Dad had a very distinctive way of signing his name, with a looping “P” for Paul and a unique-looking “F” for Faust. He scrawled his signature on my ordination certificate that hangs above my desk. He always signed his name “Paul W. Faust.” The “W” stands for “Worth,” his father’s name, and Dad’s lifestyle showed what he considered worthwhile.
Paul Faust was a family man. He and my mom were married for nearly 65 years. When I was a boy, I remember hearing my parents talk after we all went to bed. I couldn’t tell what they were saying, but through the thin walls of our old farmhouse, I could hear Dad’s voice rumbling in the darkness. The sound of my parents talking in their bedroom made me feel secure. Years later, it stirred the same feeling whenever Mother walked into Dad’s room in the nursing home and his face lit up like a lightbulb. There was never any doubt about his faithfulness to his wife and children.
Dad also was known for his love of agriculture. Farming was his job, but in a deeper sense, it was his calling—a way to serve God. He felt close to the Creator when he worked outdoors.
As a farmer Dad liked to count things. He could calculate in his head the bushels of corn every acre would yield and the average amount of milk the cows gave each month. His granddaughter Melinda, who also enjoyed counting things, mentioned to him one time that she knew how many squares were in the ceiling of the church building—perhaps a sign she hadn’t been listening closely enough to the sermon. Dad immediately nodded and told her the number of squares, because he had counted them too!
He knew how to fix things. I helped him build fences and repair the water pump on our well, and I remember standing on top of the corncrib with him spreading aluminum paint on the roof. (It was dangerous, but such was the adventure of growing up on a farm.)
He knew how to grow things. He knew the smell of fresh-plowed dirt and well-cured hay. In recent years his legs grew weak, but I remember him bounding onto the tractor when it was time to plant corn or combine wheat. The tomatoes in his garden surpassed anything I could produce no matter how much fertilizer I added. He knew how to raise hogs and steers, chickens and corn, and he knew how to raise boys, as my brothers and I can attest.
He cared about growing the church, too. He will be remembered not only as a family man and a farmer, but also as an elder. He lived out the qualities of an overseer described in 1 Timothy chapter 3. He took seriously the instructions in 1 Peter chapter 5: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (vv. 2, 3).
Most of all, Dad was simply a Christian. He wasn’t perfect, but he served a perfect God. Like all of us, he was a sinner who needed God’s forgiveness. He believed in Ephesians 2:8: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.”
But enough about what Dad was. I like to remember what and where he is now.
Now he is dwelling in the house of the Lord forever, as it says in the 23rd Psalm.
Now he is enjoying a place prepared for him by Jesus himself, as the Lord promised in John 14.
Now he is living proof of the truth written by another man named Paul, who said, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life . . . nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).
Dad is now experiencing the reality that it’s better to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). He understands better than ever that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Dad worked hard, but he had a strong conviction about not working on Sunday. On the Lord’s Day he worshiped the Lord, and milked and fed the cows, but he wouldn’t do much else. He had done his work, and now it was time to rest. After eating a big meal he would take a long nap on Sunday afternoon.
The Bible says in Revelation 14:13, “‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’” Dad, you worked hard all your life and served the Lord faithfully. Now, like you did on all those Sunday afternoons, may you rest in peace—until we meet again.