Pastor Sam McConehea Led the Congregation for 30 Years
A Tribute to Pastor Samuel McConehea (1918-1999)
Presented at his memorial service on Thursday, October 21, 1999, by Joe Rouse
What makes a real man?
A real man is selfless, working to help others while not thinking of the cost to himself. A real man goes the extra mile, takes the extra time, and doesn’t complain or brag while doing so. He will dismiss any adulation or praise.
Brother Sam McConehea truly fit the definition of a real man.
For over 40 years he went that extra mile and took that extra time, and sacrificed much to do so. His labors were not just concentrated in Springfield and Carmichael, but he also reached out to help people in other parts of the country. Some of those whose lives he touched that way are here with us today to bid him farewell.
The sacrifices he made included his health, and, ultimately, his life. I cannot fathom just how much he endured for the service of God. I don’t know if I really would want to know. Yet, in all the years I knew him, I can’t recall ever hearing him complain or express a single regret about what he went through or what he had to give up for the cause of Christ. Even after he retired, you could tell Brother Sam’s heart was still devoted to that cause. I can recall many times when he would work and pray with those that needed help, myself included.
In Hebrews, Chapter 11, we are given a very eloquent description of Moses. It says that he chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” And if we read a little further, we find out why Moses made that choice. It says he had “respect unto the recompense of the reward.” I think Brother Sam had that same perspective, and it must have been what kept him going. Many souls have benefited because he kept that perspective down through the years.
Brother Sam never accepted any credit or praise when it was given to him. He would rather give the glory to God for whatever good he accomplished. That mark of humility is what I think we all will remember the most.
Speaking for myself, I will miss his wonderful sense of humor, his powerful preaching, and his God-given skill at teaching from Revelation. I recall how he would get so fired up when preaching from Revelation, he would take that pointer and smack that chart with all his might. It was at times like that when I think all of us, from the youngest to the oldest, could feel his tremendous passion for God’s work and God’s church.
He will not be easily replaced.
And while we all have suffered a great loss with his passing, heaven had a substantial gain at 10:30 Monday morning when Brother Sam entered through those gates. As we honor him one final time today, I am so thankful that we don’t have to take a second thought as to where his soul was bound. I know we can all agree that this was one soldier who has more than earned his reward.
The Church of God in Carmichael is what it is today largely because of Brother Sam’s devotion and his desire to let God use him in whatever way he saw fit. In a sense, I believe it is his legacy.
May God help us all to do our very best to preserve it.