Dr. Jim Barksdale, age 91, died October 23, 2020. As his pastor, I played a small role in the funeral service which was officiated by Dr. Kent Pate and Dr. Roy Edgemon. Each of these men are spiritual giants among men.
Jim served as pastor of several different churches throughout his lifetime including Calvary Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California, First Baptist Church in Emory, Texas, and Valley View Baptist Church in Longview, Texas. He was most recently a member of First Baptist Church in Sulphur Springs.
I could always find Jim in his pew unless he was preaching at a church in the area. He even found his way in to a service when we had lock doors during the early days of the pandemic quarantine!
A few months prior to his death, Jim shared with me a frequent conversation he had with God. He often prayed, “Lord, allow me to preach at some small church once a month until you take me home.” Jim Barskdale was faithful to God and faithful to the word of God.
Yesterday began the sale of the earthly belongings of Jim and Mildred Barksdale. (Mildred preceded Jim in death on January 11, 2020). I showed up to the Barksdale home looking to find a few books from Jim’s library. I was stunned when I stumbled upon a small collection on a shelf in the corner of the garage. In old, well-loved, small binders were the collected sermons of Jim Barksdale. Each one marked up, highlighted, annotated, and I’m sure, well-preached. They contain sermons from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. I’ve poured over a number of sermons thus far. They have blessed my soul.
Each binder is evidence of Jim’s love for God, love for God’s word, and love for God’s people. I read each sermon picturing Jim preach as a younger man – long before he was hindered by a walker and slow pace.
Jim continues to bless me even though he now enjoys his conversations with his Lord while in the Lord’s presence.
I will find a way to proudly display these sermons in my office in an effort to honor the life and ministry of Dr. Jim Barksdale. I pray to follow in his steps of preaching the word of God until my very last breath.