John Mays

John Mays died on March 5, 2002 in Kennett, Missouri, where he lived for more than 50 years. His funeral service (audio – text) was held at McDaniel Funeral Home on March 7, 2002. The Reverend Dale Rickman spoke.

I know this is a very difficult day for Steve and his family and for Blane and his family in Indonesia. But the Lord, who is not only the personal Savior for all who believe Him; put their trust in Him, and also the Lord of the Universe, is not only present with Steve here, but with Blane and his family in far off Indonesia. The Lord is sufficient to take care of all our needs.

John Mays, of course, was a well known personality in our area, having worked as a radio announcer and sales executive on a local radio station for many years and having served as County Assessor as well, in fact, as the county’s first assessor. John was a person that many people liked and admired and was a very good community person. Many people will miss him. John lived a very active, fulfilling life until the last few years when failing health limited him severely.

As sad as it is to lose our loved ones to death, circumstances sometimes make it easier for us. Because of John’s failing health and because his quality of life was gone, it makes it somewhat easier to accept what is ultimately to happen to all life, which is death. The Bible tells us, “and as it Es appointed unto man once to die but after this the judgment”. We all must accept this whether we understand it or not. So death has come again to take someone dear to us, John Mays. We admire many things about John Mays, his contributions, his accomplishments, his influence.

We certainly appreciate his influence on his sons, Steve and Blane, who have accomplished meaningful goals in life and made positive contributions in their own areas of endeavors. We appreciate Steve’s successes very much, and certainly he was influenced by his dad.

We think of Blane and Tonya and their children today serving as Southern Baptist missionaries in Indonesia, a land fraught with danger for them, but a calling that has brought joy, peace, and fulfillment to their lives.

I know how difficult this day is for Steve, as I have already noted, but it is also so difficult for Blane who wanted to be here, but because of the difficulties mentioned above, could not.

I talked with Blane by telephone the day of his father’s death, as I know Steve and others have, and he wanted me to thank all of you here, and that he would be praying for all of us. He indicated he would be home as soon as feasibly possible. I know Blane would desire all your prayers today as he serves, along with his family, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he loves so much. Blane has done what some might say is a dramatic way and on a foreign field what all of us should be doing right here where we are.

We have come to honor and remember John Mays today, and we certainly want to do that, but the best way we can ever honor any person either living or dead is to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.

One may accomplish much in this life. One may achieve fame, gain wealth, win applause, glory and honor from the masses. One may satisfy every desire and end up with nothing. One of the greatest men who ever lived, in fact, the wisest man who ever lived, according to God, was a man named Solomon. Solomon seemingly had everything, political and military fame, stupendous wealth, world wide fame, and yet in writing in the Old Testament, he looked around and said, “All is vain.” In fact, Solomon especially said, “Vanity of vanities, saith the teacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all the labor which he taketh under the sun, one generation passeth away and another generation cometh.”

This tells us very clearly how vain life is, whatever we may have accomplished or hoped to be, if we don’t know the Lord. And the only way to know God is through Jesus Christ whom God sent to die for us on Calvary’s cross. He did something for us we could not do for ourselves, that is, to take away the dreadful curse of sin that condemns us all. Jesus said in the New Testament almost the same thing Solomon said in the Old Testament about how vain life is, and how useless and hopeless all the things are that we accomplish and accumulate if we don’t have a personal relationship with Him; if we haven’t been born again. He said “what doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul, or what would a man give in exchange for his soul.” We already know the answers, don’t we? And if we don’t get right with God, we don’t gain an entrance to heaven. We are not spiritually saved by our accomplishments, by our good works, by our good morals, but only by trusting Jesus Christ. There is no other way. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no man cometh to the Father but by me.” So every serious illness, every critical accident, every death, every funeral service gives us one more opportunity to think about our own life, our own frailties, our own death, our own eternity, our own relationship with Jesus. Today we are given one more opportunity to do what we already know deep in our hearts we should do. And Jesus is here today to comfort and strengthen us if we depend on Him.

Life at best is a battle. It is filled with troubles, trials, heartaches, difficulties, temptations and sins. But Jesus Christ is sufficient, in life and in death. He said “I am come that ye might have life and have it more abundantly”. But you and I can only have life if we know the Lord. We are so thankful for John Mays today. What he means to us, how he influenced us, what he accomplished. But if John Mays’ life or death are to have any meaning to us that really counts, then it would be that his life and death caused us to pause to consider our own relationship to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is here today, to help us, to encourage us, to comfort us. In His Word, He said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for Jam meek and lowly of heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled Ye believe in God Believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again to receive you unto myself that where I am, ye may be also.”


Dale Rickman

Burial was at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Kennett, Missouri. Our thanks to those who came to pay their respects. Apologies to those who’s signatures we were unable to read.

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