Virtually everything done is relative to time. To take it a step further, almost all things take place at a set time. We go to work and get off at a certain time. We sit down to meals at roughly the same time each day. Before we go to bed, which is usually around the same time, we set the alarm to wake us up at a designated hour.
Even life and death is governed by time. The difference is that unlike our daily activities which we take great care to plan, only God knows the exact time he has set for us to be born and for the spirit in our bodies to leave this earth. We have absolutely no control over this. Only God does. Only when he declares it is time, it is time!
As it is written:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you – Jeremiah 1:5
Man’s days are determined; God has decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed” – Job 14.5
While we may not have a say so on how long we are destined to be on this earth, there are some things that a person can control. One is the mark that we make during our life. Another is the legacy we leave behind. Most importantly is that we are prepared spiritually for when the times comes.
Death brings forth a myriad of emotions, often all at the same time. There is the HUMAN feeling of shock, sadness, pain, loss, bewilderment and sometimes even anger. There are also the SPIRITUAL feelings of joy, comfort, compassion and celebration, especially when you know that that person’s spirit has entered the kingdom of heaven.
This past Tuesday, the time that God had ordained for Bill Staples to pass from this earth came to an end. The news came as a shock to even those closest to him, as even though he had been hospitalized for several weeks, by all indications he was on the road to recovery. It is a true testament to when God says it is time, it is time.
While anyone who knew Bill deeply grieves his passing, he would prefer you not to be sad but instead focus and remember all the blessings God gave him. Speaking to a friend the day before he died, he basically said as much.
“I thought several times before in my life that this was the end, but God had different plans,” said Bill. “He has given me so many blessings and I give him praise for all of them. I don’t want anyone to be sad when it is my time. When God calls me home, it will be according to his plan.”
While Bill was greatful of the blessings he received, It is the blessings that he gave back that will be remembered for. Bill touched countless numbers of people he came in contact through a God given talent of helping someone feel better through his ministry and minstrels.
In his early years he soothed souls and entertained others all over the south through his music. Whether it be at a high school dance or church gospel meeting, his desire was for everyone to enjoy themselves and look back on that day with fond memories. It was always mission accomplished evidenced by him routinely being asked to make a return engagement. His ability to provide a witness to God through his music did not go unnoticed. Especially among the younger generation in his family who would later join forces with him creating what became somewhat of a “family tradition.”
Then there was his ability to minister. For years he served with the Jackson Parish Coroner’s Office and was a Funeral Director and Manager for Southern/Edmonds Funeral Home in Jonesboro and Winnfield. To say these were professions of his doesn’t do justice to what he did.
Providing compassion and encouragement was truly a calling of his. Hundreds upon hundreds of families and friends suffering through the death of a loved one will tell you how beneficial his timely and kind words were during their time of need.
His “good word” wasn’t heard only in the times of death but in the celebration of life as well. Each Sunday, for the past several years he pastored at Union Baptist Church, bringing additional words of encouragement and hope to a very appreciative congregation.
Bill also provided motivation and encouragement in the sports world as well. As broadcaster for 94.1 radio, including being the voice of Jonesboro-Hodge Football, Bill’s always strived to relay a message of positivity and hope over the airways.
In reflection he couldn’t have been named any better. Bill was a Staple of the community. He left a mark! He left a legacy! Most of all he left this earth spiritually prepared for when it was his time. While we mourn his passing, for this we will celebrate!