Thirty-two-plus years ago, my Lovey was a little over 24 years old when he came to my church with his brother and sister-in-law. We met on Bill’s second time there, and he tells people he met the Lord and his future wife on the same day! During those days, our church was going through changes, from interim pastor to pastor, who didn’t last much more than a year. Then, in about 1983 or 84, a young preacher (he was Bill’s age) took a chance on our struggling church and came as our pastor. He was well educated, but he was much more than that. He LOVED his Lord, and he loved the people of God. And oh, what a teacher! Even though I had grown up in a wonderful Christian home and became a Believer as a young child, I grew more in the knowledge of my Lord and His Word during Brother Keith Thomas’ service at our church than any time before. The Lord spoke mightily through Keith – oh, so mightily! My husband, a very young Christian at this time, learned of his Lord, and how to lead his family. He learned to love the lost, and was given tools to witness to them. There was so much more, but I’m not sure I can explain how our lives were changed through the ministry of this Godly man!
Keith and his wife Karen had children at the same time we had our kiddoes. Karen and I both experienced C-sections, and we were both TERRIFIED of delivery. I’ll never forget going into labor on Sunday night (during one of Keith’s messages) and Karen promised she would be praying for me during my surgery. I discovered later that she came to our church and spent time on her knees at the altar on my behalf. And I had the easiest and calmest experience of any of my deliveries.
Keith loved children, and always had a few moments with the kids before his sermon each Sunday. He was so great with them, and my children loved him. Nathanael still has a Hebrew lepton, the coin Jesus referred to as the widow’s mite, that Keith gave the children during the telling of the story from Mark 12.
Mama loved Keith; loved learning from him. She would scour her Bible as he taught, drinking in his words, and as a true Berean, “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Daddy also enjoyed Keith’s teaching, and even began going to Keith’s Sunday School class, after years of only going to the worship service. Our church grew, in size and in spirit, during this time. Keith (who received his doctorate during his time with us) wasn’t with our church many years, but he impacted so many lives!
About five years ago, Brother Keith was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He fought it bravely these five years, continuing to preach the Gospel until just three weeks ago. And last night, his suffering was ended, and he entered into his rest in the arms of his Lord. My heart is aching over the loss of this mighty man of God, and for his family – a precious wife, four adult children and a daughter-in-law – and the many, many, many who were touched by his life. I am abundantly and forever thankful for the impact that Dr. Keith Thomas had on my own life, and that of my family. I know there is great rejoicing in heaven as they welcome Keith home (I think of Mama giving him a hug!) and with that I have peace. God bless his family.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15