BILL WAUGH DIED ON JANUARY 20TH, 2015
Many years ago I arrived in Dallas and a courteous gentleman and friend of Bill's picked me up to take me to the Waugh's home. This would be my first visit and I was nervous--I had no reason to be but that's how I'm built--so I asked the man about Bill. All he had to say was good but he focused on one thing in particular--Bill Waugh's generosity and in particular his generosity with regard to enterprises that helped the needy.
My driver was an accountant as well as a devoted friend of Bill's. He spoke of someone else he did work for--someone I came to know and admire very much but I won't name him here. He said as he went through the canceled checks of the two men he was astonished at their generosity. Check after check after check was made out to someone or some enterprise they thought worthy and the kind of things they thought worthy were worthy because they helped people and helped people who helped people and they did it because their Lord, Jesus Christ, thought such things worthy. My driver said, "Bill is very wealthy but nobody knows just how generous he is; nobody will know just how much of that wealth is shared with a host and an ever-growing host of lovely endeavors."
I came to know of that generosity up close and peronal when he [with others I won't name] took care of my wee Ethel at a time when she critically needed it. Then followed many years of kindness and generosity, years of encouragement and making me feel useful to God and his purposes..
I didn't know he had died.
I read through the obituaries today and realized that though I knew him I didn't know him very well in many areas. He was more accomplished than I had known he was. I knew he was gifted as an artist and as someone of great imagination and brilliance in creating business enterprises that not only made money but generated employment for so many people and places where the clients and customers were given what Bill Waugh always insisted they should, courteous treatment and the best that could be made available. I heard him on scores of occasions speak of that to those who committed to his vision of excellence in business and relationships. God's gifts in him and his use of them went way beyond the level I had known.
Beyond all these things the one thing that comes to my mind, when he comes to my mind, is his intensity. Maybe I know half a dozen people who strike me that way--intense, I mean--but I don't think I know anyone more intense than Bill Waugh. I may have imagined it, though I doubt it, but I thought I could see it in the way he walked, the way he looked, the way he talked [even when he spoke quietly and he spoke quietly most of the time--at least I thought so, but then again I don't hear too well] and in the way he focused on what was important to him.
God was important to him! He arranged so many gatherings in his home where he had friends and their friends to listen to someone speak about God, his character and purpose. I think he took a very great joy in doing that. I think he thought he was giving us all the chance to re-vision God as we have come to know him in Jesus Christ and it thrilled him.
I'm telling the truth when I tell you that he called me at home in Northern Ireland--dozens of times--just to talk about God and life and people. He loved God, though he [I think] always felt he didn't serve Him well. He wept more than once when we talked about that. My guess is that he felt he should have been as intense in his feeling about the person of God as he did about making the world a better place in his particular area of life. I'm sure he was wrong here, for doing good things in the name of Christ to and for others is to do it to and for Christ. Bill knew the texts, of course, but maybe, like so many of us, he found them a bit difficult to believe and didn't give himself the credit for a deep personal love of the Lord Jesus which he most certainly had.
My experience with him leads me to say that he hungered intensely to please God and gain [not earn] his approval. He used the God-given rich gifts in life and the business world with an intensity I never have had the occasion to witness elsewhere, but he sought God with a greater intensity than that. He sought--of this I'm fully persuaded--what so many of us seek, God's fatherly hand placed on his bowed head, gently pushing it back until their eyes meet and he heard a peace-bringing welcome from the Holy Father to a child of His and a, "Well done, good and faithful servant." It might well have been, and I tend to think to think it was, a surprised Bill who wanted to know, "When did I do all this for you, Lord?" And to him the Lord would say, "You did it to me when you did it to the least of my brothers and sisters, when you did it for the needy everywhere." [Matthew 25].
And Bill Waugh must have heard: "Enter into the joy of your Lord."
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com