Troy “Big Daddy” Cullum’s funeral was today at Central and I was triply blessed.
One, I was so honored to give the eulogy. Any time I’m asked to do a memorial service, it’s a tremendous privilege. It’s one of the great blessings in being a congregational minister. People invite you in to their most sacred moments — the births of babies, the deaths of loved ones, the victories and tragedies. We preachers stand in places most people never get to: those places where heaven and earth meet, those places where God’s presence is thick, those places where our Lord comes to be with his people. It’s an honor and an affirmation. It’s holy.
Two, I was thrilled to re-connect with so many great people I went to school with at old Dallas Christian. “Big Daddy” had maintained close friendships with some of the best men and women ever turned out by DC and a bunch of them came up here for the service. Kyle Douthit, Todd Denton, Brian Crisp, Darla Dunn, Mike Shelton, Darby Doan, Clay Dillard, and Micah Goodspeed — oh, my word! Other than seeing Darla at a Great Cities Missions fundraiser one time about four years ago, I’m sure I haven’t seen any of these folks since 1985! What a great joy to talk about Coach T and Coach Richmond and Mrs. Sorrells and old friends, to make those re-connections with people who know the same people I know, who know the same stories I know. What a gift from God to realize that he has been involved with all of these people for the past 33 years. We’ve all been on different paths in different places, we’ve had different experiences and different ups and downs, but our Lord is faithful to carry us forward in the ways that are best. We are all characters in the same eternal narrative. It’s comforting. It’s warming. It’s good to be reminded that our God is at work in and through everybody for his great purposes.
And, three, I was so blessed to see our church come together in powerful ways to minister to the Cullums. Shane and Doug are there for Troy’s son, T. J. Mary and Sara and Jamie are there for Berkley. Mindy and Robin are there for Morgan. Huddle leaders and class teachers and Sticky Buddies and elders and Becky Nordyke’s gang of church ladies and our amazing church staff, all jumping in this week to love and encourage, to comfort and minister.
Nobody wanted this funeral today. Nobody was prepared for this. It’s awful.
And, yeah, it’s also kind of beautiful.
Troy’s sudden death Sunday morning leaves a heavy void that’s going to take a long time to heal. But he also leaves a lasting legacy for his family and friends — a brilliant and shining example of a life well-lived in Christ Jesus for the sake of others.
May God bless Troy’s family. May God receive his servant “Big Daddy” into his faithful arms. And may God bless all of us with the strength and faith and confidence that he is able to keep whatever we trust to him until that big day.