Honoring a LIfe, Part 2: Passing the Mantle

July 3, 2017

Shortly after his ninetieth birthday, my father-in-law was given a few months to live.  What would you do? Let me tell you what Joe did.

My father-in-law had the rare blessing of getting a “two-minute warning” so to speak.  Shortly after his ninetieth birthday, he began experiencing unusual health complications that made treating one problem impossible without creating or escalating other problems.  Long story short, the prognosis was a few months left to live.  What would you do?  Let me tell you what Joe DeRuvo did.

Among other things, he made the most of the opportunity to contact and say goodbye to friends and family–a rare blessing indeed.  He also planned out his own memorial service with the help of long-time friends and pastors.

In the memorial service that he planned, my wife (his daughter) shared some of her personal recollections and a note that he left behind.

As a child, I remember spending time at my grandmother’s house. She used to take care of me when my mother would work evening shifts as a nurse. My dad would come after work and pick me up. Before we left my grandmother’s house we would be on our knees praying. My grandmother was a great prayer warrior and before she died, she passed on the mantle to my dad, just as the prophet Elijah passed on his mantle of ministry to Elisha. My dad took that responsibility very seriously. Most days he would rise at 4:00 AM to read his Bible and spend time in prayer, most often on his knees. He was a man of great faith and expected God to do great things in people’s lives. I would like to read you a note that my dad wrote regarding the legacy he has left for his family …

Alesa De Ruvo Cunningham

Before his mother passed away, she passed on the mantle and responsibility of prayer warrior to him.  That was a responsibility he took very seriously.  As he got older one could sense a burden to find the right person to pass on that mantle to the next generation.  I think that troubled him during his last few decades.

I think God had other plans. Rather than leading one person to receive that charge, I now believe God was planning all along to use Joe to call many to prayer–not just one.

“An inheritance is what you leave for people but a legacy is what you leave in people.”

(original source unknown)

As friends and family gathered to honor Joe and to be with each other, I could clearly sense that mantle was being passed on to all in attendance.  It will probably look a little different in each person that received it but, be sure, I/we/they received it. I’ll share more in the next post and installment.

Please feel free to enjoy the entire video below if you have time and interest.  It also includes two of Joe’s favorite songs featuring my son, a tenor and Joe’s niece on piano.  Just start the video at the very beginning.

The video below is set to begin with my wife sharing the story and note that I mentioned above.  It begins at 10:47.  Even if you never met Joe, I think you’ll appreciate the story and how God used him to pass on a legacy to live for Christ and to intercede for those needs that God brings to our attention. That theme will be developed even further in the next blog post later this week.  Afer Alesa’s segment, her brother, Joseph Jr. shares his reflections and challenge in a way that only he could.  They are both worth watching when you have time.

You can read the first post in this series at http://www.encourageandequip.com/honoring-a-life/


Kevin Cunningham

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