A reader sent me an email about the passing of Pastor Tom Rodgers last year. Here is what he wrote:
I believe you knew Tom Rodgers over in Wichita Falls, and I imagine you were aware of his passing recently. He and Reggie Coe were our pastors back in the early 1980s when we were stationed there in the Air Force. They were the first people in my life who preached verse-by-verse, and my wife and I really appreciated their ministry.
Over the years I have communicated with Tom and Reggie on various issues and so have kept up a bit on Grace Church even though we live in Kansas.
Tom’s last message he taught (on the Wednesday before he passed on Saturday) was on the Bema Seat. I downloaded it and found it to be very helpful.
Tom had been Senior Pastor at Grace Church in Wichita Falls, Texas, for 42 years (1976-2018). He went to be with the Lord on Saturday, June 30, 2018. As the reader said, three days earlier he taught on the Bema, the Judgment Seat of Christ. You can hear the message here. It was called “Grounded in Grace.”
Tom was 70 years old. After more than four decades in the ministry, he still displayed a passion for pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ. He stressed that the key at the Bema is to be found by the Lord to have been a faithful steward to all that God has entrusted to us (time, talent, treasure).
Sharon and I moved back to Dallas in 1987 to head up this new organization which I had started the previous year, Grace Evangelical Society. We needed someone to handle our database, which now had several thousand names and addresses in it. A young man at Grace Church was on the mailing list and volunteered to handle the database. For several years he did so.
Tom and his associate pastor, Reggie Coe, were very encouraging to me and my ministry. Grace Church stood strongly for the Free Grace position from the first days when Tom (1976) and Reggie (1978) got there. I imagine it was a Free Grace church even before that, but I did not know the pastors before Tom and Reggie.
I would love to survive until the Rapture. However, if I die before that blessed hope, I would love to die while preaching, or soon after preaching, about the grace of God. I think there is something special about Tom Rodgers preaching about the Bema and being grounded in grace just days before he died.
As the email I received shows, Tom impacted many lives over the years. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, he will be rewarded for the work he did for Christ.
I remember once hearing Zane Hodges speak at the memorial service for Dick and Anne Caddock. Zane chose as his text an obscure verse, Rev 14:13. There the Holy Spirit says, “‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them’” (emphasis added). While that is talking about martyrs from the Tribulation, Zane applied it to believers today. He said that when Dick and Anne appear at the Bema, their works will follow them like a long wagon train filled with good works done over their lifetimes as believers.
I found it encouraging to remember that all the things we do for Christ with good motives will follow us to the Bema. I knew Dick and Anne to be godly people who indeed did much for the cause of Christ. The same is true of Tom Rodgers.