Tribute to Paul Elliot

A. R. Christopherson

It is difficult with only a few words to properly describe the influence and impact our departed brother has left. However, all who knew Paul Elliott will agree that the words once spoken of Tychicus in Col. 4:7 do apply, "Beloved brother, faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.

Men today perform rigid tasks to obtain titles for further advancement. Over 50 years before his Master and men, Paul manifested a humble cheerful "walk" determined in the Lord's "will" as a faithful herald of the gospel in the servant's "work". Our beloved brother is worthy of the title, "Servant of Christ." Luke 17:7-10 reminds us of one who plowed, then feeds and later in the chapter he serves. Paul's simple and searching gospel of man's ruin and God's remedy first brought conviction of sin, then conversion. With his unique way of exhortive ministry his children were fed.

Romans 1: I - Soul Winning was his Commission

As a boy growing up only five miles from Paul's home and later in gospel work, I personally watched with admiration his consistent soul winning spirit. His friendly, down to earth approachable personality enabled him to be invited into countless homes. He fulfilled 2 Tim. 4:2, "Preach the Word, be instant in season, out of season.' In visitation and giving out tracts he was second to none. Station attendant, cashier, elevator occupant, all heard these words: I'm giving you this paper because I want to meet you in heaven." One has said, the only man who could tiptoe through a woman's strawberry bed, give the lady a tract, and before tiptoeing back he would hear, "thanks for stopping."

Where did he preach? In the words of 2 Cor. 10: 16, "To preach in regions beyond you." Out of the way places where the plow had never been, there was Paul, especially in summer seasons, his faithful wife beside him. A pioneer in the true sense of the word, one who did not complain if the going was tough, he accepted rejection graciously but at the same time managed to get a little preach before hastening to the next door. Paul often quoted, "I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation." His best and most effective gospel message was the night of his conversion. Seldom did he preach without making some reference to that December night.

Many men while at their secular employment had the opportunity to work with Paul. The untiring servant taught by example. So valuable was his advice and hands-on experience that it deepened gospel zeal. Today, six workers have been commended who first labored with Paul before stepping out in faith. Others are key men in their respective assemblies. Paul sought to fulfill 2 Tim. 2:2. "The things that thou has heard ... the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.'

To the very end, even when his cancer required hospitalization his love for souls never diminished. It was on one of these occasions that I witnessed him speaking to a nurse about her soul . He detected an interest and said, "with her inquisitive attitude she could be saved soon." That day as I left, he said, "One more thing Allan, keep at it."

Romans 16:1-2 - Succourer to the Christian

Paul along with his faithful wife Bena, was continually visiting. The sick were always blessed with his presence. His cheerful spirit and brief prayer brought comfort. The hours were never enough to see the elderly, gospel contacts that came occasionally and many more. With young couples who might have been in financial straits, it was Paul and Bena who gave. He shared in their grief and proved it with practical help.

2 Timothy 4:8 - Sovereign Giving A Crown

Only days before Paul's homecall, I quoted the first four words of 2 Cor. 5:8, "Absent from the body." Even with such weakness of mind he quickly added, "present with the Lord.' A crown laid up (reserved) awaits our esteemed brother. Only eternity will reveal the end results of a life given in whole hearted devotion for the glory of his Lord and Master in furthering the glorious gospel of Christ.