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A Tribute

Keith Agee was a classmate of mine, a friend—quiet, very bright, and a heck of a nice guy, off the football field, that is. On the field, he was a defensive coordinator’s dream—dogged, laser-focused, and loved to hit. One day in a scrimmage, Keith leveled the running back and then stood over him, laughing as the ball carrier writhed in pain there on the ground. It was at that point or soon thereafter that Keith, new in his faith in Jesus Christ, began to sense God calling him away from football. He had nothing against the game itself, nor did he feel others should follow suit; it was personal. The coach repeatedly tried to talk him out of leaving the team (who could blame him?), but for Keith it was a matter of hearing God and obeying Him. His teammates were disappointed, and he received some criticism, but Keith had such peace, humility and integrity about him—and he spoke of his new life in Christ with such joy and conviction—that he was widely respected and held in high esteem.

If ever someone lived life as though executing right out of the believers’ playbook, it was Keith. We are chosen, says Peter, to be God’s people, that we might “proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We “abstain from the passions” of this world while loving the people of this world, living honorably, so that even those who speak against us “may see [our] good deeds and glorify God on his day of visitation.” That was Keith. One could look to him and know his God was real. I know I did. Though it was another 10 years until I came to peace with God through faith in His Son, it was the life-witness of Keith Agee and others like him that gave me hope and kept me going on the path to life in Christ.

Keith went on to become a pastor and today all five of his and Sally’s children are in ministry. Who can imagine his legacy, and now theirs? Three years ago, Keith left this world behind him and stepped into the next, victorious. It is difficult to imagine him any more joyful than he was here on Earth, but I suspect he is.

Immeasurable joy awaits us, as well. In the meantime, we, too, execute from the believers’ playbook like so many who have led the way before us, proclaiming God’s praises and living honorably, so that others see Christ in us and dare to place their hope in Him. May this be our legacy, too.

Lord God, shine through this life and through your entire church today, that others would see you and glorify you through faith in your Son. Amen.

[Click here to read today’s Scripture in 1 Peter 2:9-12 (ESV).]