There are so many things that one can say about Greg. The accomplishments Dr. Gregory Lance Evensen are numerous. However, his resume is not what I’d like to speak to you today about. I’d like to speak to you about the heart of the man that you have all loved so dearly. His ability to captivate an audience, no matter what age or size, was truly remarkable. From smurf hunting with his children to speaking or singing to thousands, it was natural for him to leave a lasting impression. I know we’ve all heard his storytelling and we’ve all heard his voice. We have all relied upon Greg at one time or another. He has been a confidant and a strong tower to many. He was always quick to listen, lend his ear, and jump into action if needed. But more than that, he was ready to impart his wisdom to us and pray with us. That is the man I want to speak about today.
Greg was a devout believer in Jesus Christ. The wisdom he was able to impart to us, was only because it came from the Father. He prayed fervently with us and that didn’t change behind closed doors. I was blessed to spend many many days with him in the hospital. I have spent many days in the pre-op room with him and my Mom waiting for him to have surgery, yet again. There were days where it did not feel like a blessing. But thinking back, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I was able to witness the strength of this man first hand. I was privileged to see him never give up, while knowing that the strength was not in him but in the Lord he served. In those mornings waiting for surgery, as we prayed, his arm was raised; in praise and gratefulness. He was thankful for every day he had on this earth. But even more than that, he prayed for all of his children and grandchildren by name. He prayed for whatever president we had and our nation. He prayed for the needs of friends near Mom and far. In those moments, when it could be so easy to be thinking of only himself, he was praying for others.
Greg loved his family. He loved his students. He loved his friends and he loved his country. He loved in such a way that each one of us will feel it every time we think of him. It is a love that will not fade. I was with my Mom the morning he passed away and something she said will stay with me forever. She said, “You know what? We weren’t married that long. I feel like we were just getting started.” And then went on to say that his final words to her were “Good night Honey, I love you with all my heart.”
I wouldn’t be doing right by Greg if I didn’t share a few lessons in all of this. You know the teacher in him and all.
1) Love your spouse, treat them in such a way that after 18 years, you both feel like you’re just getting started. Embrace every day, don’t waste them.
2) Pray, God does hear your prayers and they do get answered.
3) If you don’t know Jesus, get to know him. The man that Greg was, only existed because he tried to be like him. Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.