FInish strong …..Lessons from a 100 year old Preacher!

Today I will be attending the funeral of one of the greatest men I have ever known, Rev. Clarence Jett.  “Preacher” Jett passed away last week at the age of 100.  He was a huge friend to me and to NorthStar Church!  He truly was a gentle giant.  One of the reasons I respected Preacher Jett so much was that he did something most do not do anymore – He finished strong.  He hit the finish line of line of life without a trail of regrets in his dust.

After sitting on this all weekend – here are some of my thoughts about why he finished so strong:

  • He sought the Lord daily.  When I arrived for the first time about 7 years ago to interview him at his apartment in Palmetto, he had his bible open and was reading it like it was the first time he had ever seen it.  The comment I remember him making was “his mercies are new every morning.  Son, when I read this, God always shows me something new”.   He was past 90 at the time.  He was a consistent man!
  • He never retired.  Preacher Jett may have retired from full-time work at a church but he never “retired” from what God called him to do.  He was activeley teaching God’s word every chance he got.  He shared with me a few years ago, “It is a fire that burns down in my soul that I have to get out”…..WOW!  He never lost his passion for the Lord.
  • He never pretended to know it all.  I would pick his brain the times we were together about different theological questions and he would always say, “Here is what I think but only the Good Lord knows”.   He kept his walk with Jesus the main thing and did not get off on things to argue about and disagree over.  This led to a humility that was so refreshing to be around.
  • He loved his wife.  He was married for 70years and never got over this precious wife Maria Lenon Jett, who went home to be with the Lord in 2008.   My wife Anne, when I told her about Preacher Jett passing said, “I bet he was so happy to see his wife again!”.…so true!   What a picture of his faithfulness.
  • He loved life.   When you spent time with Preacher Jett, he loved to laugh!  He loved to talk proudly of his kids & grandkids.  He loved to play golf.  He loved to read the newspaper and keep up with what was going on in the world.   He was always positive when I was around him.  I remember during the drought we were experiencing a few years ago, I asked him what he thought about it….His response, “The good Lord will send the rain when we need it, He always does”…..He did – the drought is now a thing of the past.
  • He kept his eyes on Jesus at the finish line.  Preacher Jett never let the things of this world get him off course….he kept his eyes focused on the one who died for him and that would be waiting on him at the finish line.   I cannot imagine what his crossing over from this world to the next must have been like.  I still remember him saying, “I’m ready…..when the time comes, I am ready to meet my maker and see what heaven is going to be like!”  He was ready.  I really believe he lived life everyday like it could be that day…..

Well done good & faithful servant…..well done”…….Preacher Jett – thank you for finishing strong!  You have blessed & touched many….but you have been blessed & touched me more than you will ever know!

Here is a clip of his last message preached when he was 100!

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