Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).
On the night before he died, Bob Shantz was asked by a family member what the questioner later admitted was an odd query: “How’s your spiritual heart?”
And Dad responded with the words of David from the 51st Psalm (above), indicating that his daily prayer was that the Lord would continually create within him a clean heart.
That is the desire of a man who pursued God’s kingdom and His righteousness above all.
I know. I’ve watched him up-close as a family member for over 4 decades.
A relationship with one’s father-in-law can be a test of endurance, a relationship of necessity. But Bob Shantz was to me a godly mentor: in life, in the church, and in business.
Here are 6 ways that Bob graphically displayed what it is to be continually in relationship with the God of the universe, and to evidence the resulting process of “heart cleaning”:
- Integrity in business – when I was 16 years old, I first heard about Bob Shantz, and the adults I knew talked admiringly of his considerable success in business AND his commitment to Christ. Many who did not share his faith respected Bob as a Christian whose life and faith were in perfect alignment. His is a vanishing breed: if you had Bob’s word, you didn’t need it in writing.
- Generosity – Bob was always one to share what he had with others – with the church, with Christian parachurch organizations and missionaries, and with those needing some tangible support to get a project off the ground.
- the Great Commission – the Lordship of Christ was evident in Bob’s life in various ways, particularly in his role as an evangelist. Many a construction worker heard the gospel on Mayco Homes job sites, and over the years Bob led countless men through the Timothy Bible study/discipleship course.
- Persistence – a long-time friend described Bob as “mule-headed”. Bob would be pleased – not only because he loved animals, but because he realized that stubbornness was a close cousin to determination. And nothing of value was ever accomplished without persistence.
- Humility – Bob’s low-key, soft-spoken style was unique in the high-pressure world of business deadlines, demanding customers, and financial hassles; but he knew the Lord as his Shepherd – that His God was in sovereign control. For Bob, that was incompatible with arrogance or self-centred pride.
- Ambition – his drive was relentless. He always had to have a project to occupy his mind – from building multi-storey residential buildings to selling Christmas trees; from working his hobby farm to making maple syrup – the results of which were meticulously recorded in his spiral-bound note pad. (He once told me not to get him shirts without a chest pocket; otherwise he’d have no room to carry his pocket “computer”.)
If the measure of a life well lived is the degree to which others are positively impacted by it, then Dad’s life was powerful, exemplary, highly influential, and one that moments after its conclusion on earth, would have been rewarded with the Master’s words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”