Celebrating a Lasting Legacy
Posted by blountman
Peggy and I are in KY this weekend. Her Uncle Tom Bellomy passed away earlier this week and is now in the presence of our Lord Jesus. Celebrating his life is a true joy. Yes, the pain of separation is real, and we are concerned for Aunt Betty as she moves forward in this life without her beloved Tom. Yes, we hurt for Tommy, Timmy, and Teresa, their kids and grandkids. But, I am once again reminded that the only thing that will matter 100 years from now is your relationship with Christ. Well, that, and how well you pass it along to your family and friends.
Tom’s legacy is quite simple: Tom loved Jesus with everything he had. He lived out his love for Jesus daily. His wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren never had any doubt about Tom’s love for Jesus. He modeled Christian living for those around him. He did so in humility. Tom was not a boisterous man. He did not demand the spotlight. He simply loved out a Christ-filled life in a quiet, but commanding manner.
Tom was not afraid to speak up for Jesus, so don’t get me wrong here. His quiet nature was a sign of great strength, not one of weakness. Again, Tom simply didn’t feel the need to be in the spotlight, because Tom knew that Jesus is the One Who should be the center of attention.
Tom modeled Christ-like living. Always ready to help anyone in need, Tom was a guy who could be counted on. Period. No questions asked. He was just there.
Tom loved his Lord Jesus. Perhaps best known for his ministry with the Artripp Family Singers, Tom didn’t just sing about Jesus, he lived out that love. He used the time, talent, money, and personality God had given him to bring glory and honor to Jesus. Actively involved in both his church and in parachutes organizations dedicated to spreading the Gospel, Tom left no doubt about his first love: Jesus.
Tom loved his wife unceasingly. When Tom was diagnosed with cancer, after having never been sick to speak of a day in his life, his first concern was taking care of Betty, who has had (and continues to have) a myriad of health issues. His only regret about leaving this earth, was that he was “supposed to take care of” Betty. After all, she was his Bride. The look in his eyes when he gazed at her readily confirmed that.
Tom loved his kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. Never a doubt about that. He spoke lovingly of all of them. I never heard him criticize any of them (even when there was room for criticism). He made it clear that he was “on their side” no matter what. Not that he didn’t discipline when necessary, not that he never pulled any of them aside to correct behavior, not that he didn’t lie awake at night wrestling in prayer for them. He just did those things privately. Publicly, he was their biggest cheerleader.
Peggy recalls the close-knit family life she had growing up. Tom and her Dad were best friends, not just brothers-in-law. The extended family vacationed together every year, and Sundays after church, the family gathered at Mamaw Stella’s for dinner (and at Peggy’s parents’ house after Mamaw passed away). Tom was like a 2nd dad to Peggy. Tom’s love for family extended well beyond his nuclear family. Perhaps in part because he came from a large family himself (9 brothers and sisters).
I knew Tom for at least 50 years myself. Tom and my grandpa, Ernest Johnson, were big buds as well. I guess you could say that I was part of Tom’s extended family even before I married Peggy.
More than 500 people streamed through Westwood Freewill Baptist Church yesterday morning to pay their respects for Tom Bellomy. A life well-lived. A legacy that lives on through eternity. Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest.