This last week we celebrated the life of Cliff Parken. Cliff was a faithful servant of God, who served in our church over many years. He was a hard-working humble man who served as our church treasurer, auditor and even, in his 80’s, cleaner. Cliff passed away aged 96 years.
I first met Cliff in 1999 while serving as a Youth Pastor at this church. I thought he was an intimidating man. In Church meetings he would stand, papers in hand, and state forthrightly his opinion. I remember the day he discussed vigorously with me my intentions on changing the church. But that changed once we delivered phone books together. It was a church fundraiser. As there were thousands of books and far less volunteers, Cliff and I spent at least 2 weeks, driving, and running books to homes. Cliff went on to become for me a wonderful encourager through my ministry.
Cliff was 75 when I first met him. By then we think people are set in their ways. If they dislike cucumber, we have given up trying to teach them to eat it. I respect that Cliff kept growing as a person. People can mellow with age, but I think I saw something different in him. I saw Cliff become sweeter in spirit and grow even more in love with his Lord Jesus.
In Proverbs 4:18 it says, ‘The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.’ I believe Cliff exemplified this. While physically his body declined, his spirit did not diminish, his hunger to grow grew stronger. What a precious example to us all.