And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14,15).
As Stuart Briscoe would say, here was a gospel-preaching follower of Jesus Christ carefully disguised as a carpenter.
Lawrence Robert Buchanan who died this past week at the age of 81, was both: carpenter and preacher. And people who sought him out for his skill as the former, usually also got the benefit of the latter thrown in.
Lawrence was once installing some cabinets when the lady of the house commented that he had surprisingly beautiful hands. I’m sure his blue eyes twinkled as he retorted that he also had beautiful feet, and so proceeded with yet another segue into sharing the biblical message of hope in Christ.
Lawrence enlisted in the cause of Christ at age 19, and his passing signals a reduction in the ranks of those engaged in spiritual hand-to-hand combat: the spreading of the Gospel in this corner of the world. Lawrence’s tactics were decidedly “old school” – one-on-one conversations in truckstops and coffee shops, tract distribution, door-to-door evangelism, and preaching in the smallest of towns – but the Lord used this man to introduce many to Christ throughout the back roads of Ontario and into Manitoba.
In my opportunity to speak briefly at his funeral on Friday, I contrasted Lawrence’s death with that of another friend of similar age, who had passed away a few months earlier. This friend knew he was dying, but he insisted he had very little interest in spiritual things. When I explained the gospel of Christ, he told me he long ago taught Sunday School, but had given it all up. He didn’t know if God existed, but even if He did, he didn’t think it was applicable to his life – it addressed no felt need. My wealthy friend was polite in our conversations – and he was glad that the gospel was meaningful to me – but he concluded that “religion” had no relevance to his own situation.
Or so he thought.
But at his funeral, my unbelieving friend’s family were desperately seeking to be comforted, to have some context in which to understand his passing. So they hired a clergyman to speak even though he had never met the deceased. This representative of religion read from the Bible and prayed to God on behalf of the man in the casket, activities my deceased friend, while living, would have vehemently opposed. The contrast between what he believed while living, and what was sought for solace after his passing, was vivid indeed!
Lawrence’s funeral was such a marked contrast.
His love for the Lord, his commitment to read and live by the biblical ethic, and his drive to share the gospel as a minister of the good news were continually reflected upon by those who eulogized Lawrence.
He was never a financially wealthy man; but if one’s passion for the gospel is converted into the currency of heaven, then Lawrence arrived in the presence of the Lord to realize the great treasures he had stored up there over the course of his entire adult life.
And our lives were immeasurably enriched by knowing him. Lawrence Buchanan to me, is another great example of one living out the axiom from the Lord Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
The man with beautiful feet.