Summary: This is the eulogy for a man who was married 69 years, outstanding family man, and faithful servant of Jesus Christ.
It was the year 1929. Al Capone was causing havoc in the city of Chicago with his criminal empire. An influenza epidemic was spreading and taking the lives of over 200,000 people. The Great Wall Street Crash was beginning to happen, and the world was heading into the Great Depression.
In the midst of this bleak and dark time, somewhere in a small town called Camden, Arkansas God had brought Claude Hayes and Mildred Maybray Hayes together to give the world the gift of John Marvin Hayes. You see, no matter how dark things may seem in the world around us, God can always send us a blessing in the midst of it all.
Jesus grew up in a small hick country town called Nazareth. When a guy by the name of Nathaniel heard that Jesus was from Nazereth, he said, “Nazareth, can anything good come out of Nazareth.”
I don’t know how many of you have been to the big city of Camden, Arkansas but today the population is about 1950 people, but when John was born on September 22, 1929 there were 698 in the city. You may ask, out of a city that small, can anything good come out of Camden.
John Marvin Hayes is proof that plenty of good can come out that little city. As a matter of fact on November 8th, 2016. The richest man in Ohio died, and he was from Camden, Arkansas. His name was John Marvin Hayes. His riches are not measured in terms of dollars. His wealth is measured in things far more important. What wealth is greater than to die and have your kids say that he was a great and loving father, and mean it from the depths of their heart.
What wealth is greater than to have grandchildren and great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren who think that you were the greatest Poppa the world has ever known and they share with the world via facebook how much they love you?
What wealth is greater than to have your wife that stood with you for 69 years proclaim to the world that you were a wonderful and loving husband?. What wealth is greater than your church to recognize as you as one of the greatest saints to walk in its midst?
What wealth is greater than to die with your honesty and integrity in tact having given your life to Jesus Christ? What wealth is greater than to be able to say with the Apostle Paul “6 the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
If we could die half as rich as John Marvin Hayes, many of us would be vastly improved. I think the key to his riches, were birthed in the fact he and his wife Jonnie, mastered early in their lives together Philippians 4:12 (NIV) which says 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
John Hayes lived a life of contentment and that provided him with a wisdom that led to the foundation of building a great Hayes family. When Jesus offers us life and offers it abundantly, so many of us mistake, abundance for possessions and things. John understood the abundance to be in terms of relationships with people. He was born a country boy, and all the best of what goes along with country folk was instilled in him. He was polite, he was kind, he was respectful, he was easy going, l he was honest, and he was friendly. He was a gentlemen at all times. He had that folksy southern hospitality that made you feel right at home the moment you entered his house.
I can tell you now, if you could not get along with John Hayes, something was wrong with you. God made him a people person who could accept anybody. He did not look down upon anyone. He was grateful and thankful for what you did for him, and he told you so.
God blessed him with a mind to be quick to learn and not make the same mistake again. If you are in the Hayes Family, you’ve heard the story to remember Mr. Henry. When John was a boy, he had done a bunch of odd jobs for Mr. Henry.