Charles Siburt is a mentor for me. He has been struggling with an aggressive form of cancer. I want to take some time to share my thoughts about Charles so that you can understand why I thank God for Charles Siburt. The qualities reflected in Charlie’s life give clues to the traits of a mentor.
1. Charles cares for my family. Charles was the minister at the Glenwood Church of Christ in Tyler, TX. My grandfather was a member of Glenwood before he moved to live close to my family. I was a sophomore in high school when my grandfather passed away. Charles preached his funeral. His care for my family continues on to this day. He always wants to make sure my wife and my children are doing well.
2. Charles makes me feel special. I know that there are hundreds of people that Charles has mentored. But I have a secret…he likes me the best. This is how all who have been mentored by Charles feel. He takes time to check on me personally. I have had seasons of difficult times in ministry and during those times, he has called me to talk to me. He has words of affirmation for me that let me know he believes in me.
3. Charles speaks truth. Truth-telling is often a lost skill. Many people who “speak truth” use this as a smoke screen to be mean-spirited. Others will not say the truthful thing because of a fear of wounding the pride of others. Charlie speaks the truth in love. Because he loves, he can say what needs to be said. Although Charles has advanced macular degeneration, he sees things clearly and reveals that which must be seen.
4. Charles laughs. My wife and I were talking about Charles last night and she said, “He just delights in you!” I am a bit of a goofball. Charles loves it. He would stop lectures to make me tell jokes or to recite embarrassing humorous stories. He laughs and laughs at my humor. We have certain recurring jokes that have endured for over 15 years now. And still he laughs at them. While in grad school at ACU, I once nabbed a WW2-era German helmet from a library display and wore it into his class. Because of Charlie’s vision impairment, he could not tell what I was wearing. Eventually, I imitated Sgt. Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes. (I know nossink!) Charlie put it together and laughed hysterically. He made me put on the helmet and wear it the next class session and do the impersonation again. And again. And again. This is an example of humor that endures.
5. Charles is a true believer. He believes in Jesus. He believes in God. He believes in the Holy Spirit at work in the world. He believes in the Church. He believes that even though we fall short, the Church is still the bride of Christ and the agent of reconciliation in this world. His belief inspires me and calls me to further depths of belief. Charles has faced the most difficult situations with grace that comes from the Spirit.
There are more qualities that I love about Charles. I want to ask you to join with me and others this Friday, February 3 to enter into a day of prayer and fasting for Charles and his family. Charles and Judy Siburt have dedicated their lives to giving to others. I want to pray for Charles in his final days for there to be peace and courage. I will also be praying a prayer of thanksgiving for all that Charles has given to the Church, and especially what he has done for me. I also pray for Charles’ ministry of blessing churches and church leaders that God would raise up more to take up the call.
UPDATE EDIT: The day of prayer and fasting was a blessing as hundreds from around the world prayed to our Father. God worked by allowing Charles to have more time with his family, more time blessing others and he even got to teach another group of young ministers. Charles went to be with the Lord Wednesday morning, July 11. He will rest, and he will rise.
Thank God for Charles Siburt.
Here is another blog from my good friend Dan Bouchelle talking about Charles’ impact in his life. And another post from Jim Martin at Godhungry.org. Bobby Ross at the Christian Chronicle put up this post about the day of prayer for Charles.
How have you been blessed by Charles Siburt? Take a moment to comment here.