A large number of people came together at Woodhaven Baptist Church in Apex on Jan. 24 to remember and celebrate the life of a great servant of God. Just a few days earlier, Robert Stewart had finished his course in life and was promoted to be in the presence of his Lord and Savior. Throughout his life and ministry Robert Stewart was always working to bring people together. He was a most effective and influential leader of Baptist people. He was employed with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina from 1978 until his retirement in 2003.
When I began my career with this convention in 1993, it did not take me long to realize what a great man I would be privileged to know and work with. He immediately reached out to me in friendship. Before I purchased a home and relocated my family to Cary, Robert and Jo Ellen Stewart invited me to stay in their home. People who knew Stewart were convinced that he cared about people, and he took time to demonstrate his concern for individuals. He was a great listener, and he was gifted by God with the ability to provide encouragement and hope when someone needed a friend to help them discover new possibilities.
Robert also invested his life in helping a multitude of churches develop and improve their programs of Christian education. It would be interesting to know how many miles he drove and how many conferences he led as he challenged churches to provide effective Bible teaching with the goal of making disciples and leading the lost to accept Christ. He was well equipped in all aspects of church life, and he could provide quality training on almost any church related subject. Stewart stands out as a true statesman who modeled for us that we can always accomplish more by listening to each other and working together.
When I learned that Robert was nearing the end of his earthly life, I began to reflect on the great man he had been and all that he did for Kingdom advancement because of his love for Christ and how he valued individuals. I thought about how family members and friends would soon gather for a memorial service and reflect on the life of this kind man who was such a godly person and a humble servant of Christ.
As I reflected on all that could be said about Robert, I said to myself, “there is no way to tell it all.”
Aren’t you glad that this earthly life is not the end? It is comforting and refreshing to visualize a place called heaven where God welcomes His servants home and says to them “Well done.” God Himself will reward His children for everything they have done for His honor and glory.
“… there is laid up for me a crown of right-eousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day … – 2 Timothy 4:8