Our history books tell us that great men change the whole world.
It’s true, but they do it from a great distance, from a height almost all men will never reach. They cure a disease, lead men into battle, or walk on the moon. They are extremely rare and almost always we only read about them in history books.
By the world’s standard, Hershel Case was not a great man. We will never read about him in our history books. He was never famous or rich; never led troops into battle or walked on the moon and he never found the cure for any disease.
He was, however, something so much more.
Something so much more precious, something so much more important – he was a Good Man.
This is what I have come to understand.
Good men change the world around us. They change the world as we know it.
Good men walk among us. We see them every day. And in most examples it isn’t until they are taken from us do we realize what a wonderful gift they have given us.
For you see, Hershel Case gave us a gift. He had an impact on so much more than the world. The world may never take note but eternity was impacted because of the life of Hershel Case and that is much more honor than any history book would ever give him.
Hershel was indeed a good man, but he was even more than that. He was a better follower of Christ. His commitment to Jesus Christ was evident in every aspect of his life. Seeing Christ in him wasn’t evident because of something that he did… it was who he was.
It was simply him.
I have known many Godly men but never anyone like Hershel. He had the simple, but nearly miraculous gift of being himself in any situation and when he was with anyone. He never put on airs, he was at ease and he put the people that he met at ease. I never saw him treat anyone of any nationality, religion, skin color, physical or mental condition with anything other than ungrudging respect.
I have never known a harder worker than Hershel. He was a man that worked hard his whole life. He was a talented builder. He built more buildings, churches and houses than I could ever count. But most of all he was a preacher. He has led countless men, women and children to the Lord. He sacrificed and he did it with joy in his heart.
He never received the recognition in this life that he deserved but if you knew him he did it for the Lord. He will be rewarded in eternity for the hard work and effort he did for Christ on this earth. His life was one that brought honor to his family and to his Savior.
I never met a better follower of Jesus Christ than him.
He was a masterful dispenser of good medicine: laughter. He had a genuine wit and he loved to laugh.
I keep thinking of all the crying that’s been done over him in the last few days; and while I’m sure he’d have been touched, I’m equally sure he would have kidded us all about it.
No… he wasn’t perfect but he was the best example I have ever witnessed of what it is to live for Christ.
The measure of a person is not how many biographies are published about them, or how many buildings will bear his name, or how many testimonials are given.
Rather, the true measure of a person’s lasting legacy is not tangible at all except in how a person sets and lives their priorities.
With Hershel, it was his Savior first, then his family. He loved his family. Apart from Jesus Christ he was a dedicated husband to his wife of 53 years. He was a loving father to his daughters and he was a wonderful grandfather to his grandchildren.
He also was part of something that I have always watched in awe. His relationship with his brothers and sisters is something that I have always envied. The bond with his siblings was a big part of his life. It was something rare and I have been able to see it first hand. It something that I have always secretly called “Case Strong”. It was strong because of the love that binds them together. There is genuine love that is seen in their bond that is called family. I am honored to be apart of that family that is Case Strong.
As I write this, I am experiencing the distinct split between mourning and a sense of celebration for the life of a truly remarkable man. A friend once told me God places certain people in your life at certain times to help guide you, even though you may not recognize at the time you need the guidance. Make no mistake… Hershel Case gave me guidance and direction.
On January 14, 2016, he passed away… but in truth he began a new journey. It’s hard to believe that we now have to say good-bye. The time I spent with Hershel was far too short.
What will I miss about Hershel? Well, for starters is his humor. He was incredibly witty. Most people missed that about him.
Then I would have to say his incredible intelligence, and his grasp on Biblical truth. He was a scholar of God’s Word.
Also, I will miss the interest he took in the lives of so many people. As I said before, the fact that he cared about and loved people was always front and center.
I have no doubt that the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” apply to him. We know with confidence that Hershel is now with his Savior.
I loved Hershel. I admired him. I am honored to be part of his family but even more proud because I was his friend. I know those of you that really knew him, loved him too. And while it is natural for us to be sad that he’s gone – it is infinitely more important for us to be happy he lived, and that we all got to share part of his life with him.
I will miss him.
My prayer is that what I am as a husband, a father and grandfather will forever be influenced by the legacy of Hershel Case.
So even if you didn’t know Hershel, I would ask all of you to do this:
Love those around you as if they could die tonight. Hug them tighter. Never let one day pass without them knowing just how much you deeply love them.
Don’t hold grudges. Love and love fully. Love like Hershel did.
Live as he did–with humility, dignity, kindness, respect, and total selflessness. That will be his legacy. His footprints have left a legacy of these very things.
Imagine what the world would be if there were more Hershel Case’s in it.
That’s the world I want to live in.
Until we meet again… Grace, peace and prayers of comfort for the Case family.