Quit Complaining and Get to It! (A Tribute to Bill Clark, “A Man of God”)

Bill Clark was operated on for prostate cancer in 1993. For a man of action this time of recuperation has not been easy for him. Yet in his limitations, pain and discomfort he sought to understand God’s purposes and to praise Him for the opportunity to experience sickness for the Glory of God!

I went through surgery for colon cancer one week after Bill’s surgery. While in the hospital and for days upon returning home, he would phone me to challenge and comfort:

“Hey Doug, are you encouraged in God?

Isn’t it wonderful we can suffer pain for the Lord!

Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Doug; it’s great! “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

This suffering for Jesus is the pits, but we need to do it for His glory. Praise God that He would love and use the likes of us!

Hey friend, this cancer business is some way to march to Zion isn’t it?

I first met “Uncle Bill” the summer of 1964. He was director of Island Lake Bible Camp north of Bremerton, Washington. I was working for the summer for Northwest Independent Church Extension (NICE) in eastern Washington. The director, Rev. Henry Boyd, hearing of a serious lack of counselors at Island Lake, sent me to help even though I knew nothing about Christian camps or children.

I arrived the second day of a junior boys camp and was “chewed out” by Bill for being late. He immediately put me in charge of a cabin of 30 wild boys as the only counselor!

“Mr. Clark, I can’t do this. I’ve never worked as a counselor before.” He answered, “What do you mean you can’t? You have to! You’re here and there is no one else – so quit complaining and get to it!

It seemed like a rough start but it was the beginning of a wonderful summer of working with and learning from a gifted, hard-working, loud, but faithful man of God.

Bill and Pat (his gifted, saintly wife) met with the staff and counselors daily to pray with, teach and to try to improve our ministry. Bill dealt with us hard (but compassionately) if needed. He wouldn’t let us be lazy, give up, or take our responsibility lightly. The camp was for reaching boys and girls for Christ not for fooling around. As a result hundreds of children and young people, ages 9 to 18, trusted Christ through the influence and leadership of Bill and Patl

“Clark,” as Pat called him, was the only one I ever saw who could read from the King James Version Daily Light, explain it and keep the attention of a large group of junior, junior high or high school campers; and he seemed to always do it “extemporaneously” Many times I secretly prayed to be able to preach, teach and challenge like Uncle Bill. He had been to college, but not Bible school. He was in his late 30’s when he really committed his life to Christ. His seminary training was a life of “hard knocks,” trusting God in tough experiences of ministry.

When I first met Bill that summer of ’64, he was almost 50 but worked and ran circles around all of us younger ones. He and Pat set the pace and we really had to hustle to keep up.

As a student at Prairie Bible Institute, I first heard of missions, but Bill and Pat “exemplified missions.” Each camp had a special missions project and a missionary speaker.  It was at PBI and Island Lake that I began to ask God for the opportunity of serving Him as a missionary.

After seven years of directing Island Lake Bible Camp, Bill and Pat served the Lord in Japan and in Africa. Their lives have always been on the front lines of service for the Lord.

I am not a writer, nor the son of a writer, but I did want to at least “pen a few words” of appreciation to the Lord in honor of Bill, a man who greatly blessed my life and the lives of hundreds of others.

Oliver Cromwell said to his soldiers before battle, “Trust God and keep your powder dry.” I can hear Bill Clark say something similar, “Let’s trust God and get to work for His glory!” Friends, let’s do it, not for the sake of great friends, but for Christ’s sake. Let’s do it, Christian friends. Let’s do it! There is a world to reach with the Good News. “Please, Lord, give the church more men like your servant Bill Clark.” 

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