Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (July 17, 2023) – Bro. Allen Crowe

Five years ago today was one of the most bittersweet days of my life. Many of you know that I have spent most of my secular career in jobs that require me to run for office in the political realm, and on July 17, 2028, after nearly two years of a hard-fought campaign against honorable and worthy opponents, I was the winner in the runoff in my race for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. That was a great victory for me in my professional life, and we had planned a “watch party” and celebration that night.

But that political victory of five years ago was completely overshadowed by the tragic loss of our dear friend and brother in Christ, Bro. Allen Crowe. His father Ronnie Crowe texted me as I got up that morning, informing me that he had been killed in a car wreck. Bro. Allen was a member of Zion Primitive Baptist Church, which I pastor, and I and the rest of the church was overwhelmed by the devastating news of his loss!

There wasn’t much celebration of my victory that night, as we processed the loss to our church family. We were devastated, because he was such an inspiration to all of us here at Zion Church. I am sorry for anyone who didn’t get to know Bro. Allen! He came to our church for a wedding I performed after services one Sunday morning, and he never left! He just kept coming back, to the evening service, and then to the services the next week, and the next, and next. . . . Then one day he joined the church, and we all rejoiced at his devotion to Christ and to the Kingdom!

Bro. Allen was a joy to all who knew him, and he brought an encouragement to us at Zion Primitive Baptist Church in a way few others have. Since he lived in Booneville, MS, which is about three hours away, when he came to Zion he would “hang out” all day with us, sometimes at our house, sometimes at others’ houses, but always uplifting us with his presence and never, ever being a burden!  His distinctive “amen” (he said it with at least three syllables, with an emphasis on the middle syllable: “A-MAA-en!”) in the services was a source of great encouragement to me as pastor, unlike any other “amen” that I’ve ever heard during a service. Occasionally I will hear that “A-MAA-en!” in the background as I listen to an older sermon, and I am instantly transported back to a sweet time of fellowship, when Bro. Allen was with us and the Spirit was flowing sweetly from heart to heart!

It’s hard for me to describe Bro. Allen adequately for those who didn’t know him. He was at the same time very spiritually mature, and yet also a little spiritual child in many ways. He believed in His Savior fervently, almost desperately, primarily because I believe he never truly felt at home anywhere in this world. He would drive three hours just to see us, sometimes even during the week, and then head back to his natural family whom he loved so dearly, and who loved him just as much. And yet, nowhere did he seem completely satisfied!

As I think about this aspect of Bro. Allen’s life – his constant “seeking” of truth, peace, fellowship, etc. – it reminds me of the little dove that Noah released as the flood waters subsided. In the account of Noah and the experience of the Ark, we read that he released two different types of bird as the waters slowly subsided from the earth. The first was a raven, that was satisfied with the dead things of the post-Flood earth. The second was a little dove, which “found no rest for the sole of her foot, and . . . returned unto him into the ark.” Gen. 8:9. Bro. Allen reminds me of that little dove, finding no rest for the sole of his foot in this sin-cursed world of sorrow and death! Would that we all could be like Bro. Allen Crowe, seeking the things above and not the things of this world, constantly striving to see the beauties of God’s Kingdom and never satisfied with the dead things of this world!

Did I mention that there was no celebration on that night five years ago, when I won my race? Perhaps I misspoke: I believe there was an AWESOME celebration that night, when through the sovereign power of the blood of Jesus, our dear brother won HIS race! Paul told the young preacher Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Tim. 4:7-8. I believe Bro. Allen finished his race that morning five years ago, and the crown of righteousness – not his own righteousness, but the imputed righteousness of Christ – was given him as he entered that Heavenly Kingdom.

Yes, there was a celebration, but it wasn’t of a political victory, but of an eternal victory that had been already won by Jesus Christ! That is the only way anyone ever makes entry into the heavenly portals, because our own righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6) but HIS righteousness is perfect and complete!

What a day that was five years ago for Bro. Allen! There was indeed a celebration that night, not of a political victory but of the eternal victory over sin that had already been won for Bro. Allen at the Cross! And based upon the imputed righteousness of Christ and the sovereign grace of God, he gained entry to the heavenly Kingdom of perfect peace and joy.

As I think of Bro. Allen and his death five years ago, I’m reminded of the description given by C.S. Lewis in the conclusion to his great Narnia series of the joys that his fictional characters were about to experience in heaven: “[T]he things that began to happen to them were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world . . . had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis.

I pray for Bro. Allen’s family today, as we all remember him with sweet sadness. I pray for myself, that I can continue to endure this life as Bro. Allen did, constantly seeking the Kingdom of God and never satisfied with this world, until we come together again when the Lord calls me home. And I pray for you, dear reader, that you also find no rest in this world, but that you find great rest in the Church Kingdom that is here and at hand!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor