In memory of Ron Gatrelle
In honor of my father-in-law, I would like to share the eulogy I gave at his memorial service.
I feel very undeserving and insignificant to be up here speaking considering all of the things Ron was involved in and the people’s lives who were impacted throughout the years he served the Lord. But I am one of those lives, and I am grateful for his influence on me.
Over the past few days, my mind has been racing through all of the memories I have of Ron. I am thankful that the last memory I have is a happy one when the family gathered at our house to share his latest achievement of having his butterfly work referenced numerous times a recently published book.
Throughout the time I knew Ron, one thing was overwhelmingly clear to me. He was a very unique person. He did not fit into any mold that I know of.
He was dynamic. To him, everything was black and white, and that wasn’t because he was color blind.
He was intense. When he did something, it was full throttle.
But most importantly, he was passionate in his love and devotion to Jesus. When he preached, his convictions were an open book. If you spent any time with him at all, as a pastor, father/father-in-law, or a friend, you would have been hard pressed to remain unchanged by the encounter.
He was a tool in the Master’s hand that both tested and established foundations of faith in Jesus.
In the Lord’s kitchen, Ron was a spice with a strong flavor. I think Jesus used him to ‘kick things up a notch,’ and I believe most people will always remember that about him.
I was often puzzled by the fact that he was a pastor. It seemed to me like a square peg in a round whole. Now a prophet - that I could see; boldly speaking the words of God with fire and passion – no holds barred, a voice crying in the wilderness, … oh yeah, and wearing strange clothes, running around in the woods, and chasing bugs. Yeah, could see that too.
Pastors are like warm glowing lamps on a cold dark night. Ron was set of halogen headlights on bright.
But here’s the catch, and the most significant impact that Ron had in my life. He was a man who humbly bowed his knee to Jesus. His brutal honesty about his own human condition and his intense gratitude for the grace and mercy of Jesus to redeem his life helped me grasp more fully what Paul said in Romans 7 - oh what a wretched man I am, who will rescue me from this body of death. I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And because of Ron’s devotion to Jesus and for the mercies he received, I saw Ron restrain his own natural intensity time after time to provide that soft, ministering touch of a Pastor. Because, not only did Ron passionately love Jesus, he loved the people God put under his care, and he watched over them intensely.
Yes, there was the heart of a Pastor in this Prophet.
My life has certainly been impacted by Ron, and I am grateful for having known him. I share in the loss, but more than that, I rejoice for he has his reward.
I can imagine him dynamically, intensely, and passionately dancing before the throne of Jesus, and I long for the day when I can join him.
... until I see you again!