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Summary: Funeral for Guy Robinson, one-time chair of Takoma Park Baptist Church’s Building and Grounds Committee. God keeps the doorkeeper secure, and withholds no good thing from those who stay away from dishonesty.

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I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Eight plus one equals nine, subtract nine, leaves zero. That is the first thing Guy Robinson taught me, more than 23 years ago. It was the first thing, but by no means the last.

Guy was at the time I came here the chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee, a role he was to hold any number of times over the years. That means that he had responsibility for the operation of this building, including its security. And so, the first week I started here, Guy issued me a set of keys and taught me the security code. Eight one nine zero. It is forever engraved on my memory, because Guy taught me a way to remember it. He said, “Add eight plus one, get nine. Subtract nine, leaves zero. Eight one nine zero. Easy to remember.” It was and it is; the only reason I feel comfortable sharing it now is that I know you have changed security systems and it won’t work any more!

Security was important to Guy. The protection of property that belonged to the house of God was important to him. Keeping things safe was significant to him. To use the Biblical language, he was a true doorkeeper in the house of [his] God, and preferred that to dwelling in the tents of wickedness.

There are two spiritual issues implied in that verse from the 84th psalm, and Guy’s life will instruct us in both of them. As I have said, the formula for the security system in this building is the first thing Guy Robinson taught me, but by no means the last.

I

Security is important to us all. We do not want our property vandalized. We do not want our things to be stolen. We do not want our privacy compromised. And, above all, we do not want to feel that we are adrift, without direction or purpose. We do not want to feel insecure. We need a strong sense of security.

When Mr. Robinson was in the military, many years ago, he suffered a serious accident. The injuries to his back were such that he had to be discharged as disabled. To be called disabled would have been a blow to the pride of a lesser man. We males of the species have been socialized to think that we have to be strong. We think that we have to be up and busy and successful, as the world knows success. Disability might have sent Guy into depression or doomed him to laziness. But there was something in Guy Robinson’s mind and heart that assured him that he would be all right. There was something in his character that told him that disabled just means “differently-abled.” And so not until his later years did I ever see Guy shrink back from work, nor did I ever see him expect to be treated as if he were unable. There was that certain something in him that pushed him to stand up and do his part.

What was it? Security. Secure in himself, secure in his family, secure in his friendships, and, most of all, secure in his faith in God. Here was a man who did whatever he did with pride, devotion, and duty, and with confidence that the God who had brought him through injury and rehabilitation would also keep him secure. Guy believed that God will keep the doorkeeper.


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