Perry Mayton: A Faithful Pastor (My Father-in-Law)

Perry Mayton (1919-2003)
Perry Mayton (1919-2003)

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

(1 Corinthians 15:58) Every time I read this verse, I can’t help but think of my Father-in-Law, Perry Mayton.  He lived out this verse in his daily life before his family, and every person who knew him.

Perry Mayton was born January 3, 1919 in the small city of Harriman, Tennessee.  God was preparing Perry’s heart to serve Him through two tragic events in his childhood.  His dad died when he was six years old and his mom died when he was a teen.  These tragic events would help give Perry a compassionate heart as he ministered to people throughout his life.

Harriman was a city filled with gospel preaching churches.  As a result, Perry accepted the Lord as his Savior during his teenage years.  For a few years he didn’t grow in his faith, but God was preparing him for future ministry.  After leaving the army, Perry began working in one of the mills in Harriman.   During that time, he met his future bride Iva Olmstead.  In 1948, they married.  Soon after the wedding, Perry believed that the Lord had called him into the ministry.  He demonstrated this calling by his faithfulness in serving the Lord for over fifty years.

There are several things that stand out in Perry’s life and ministry.  One thing that always impressed me was his tireless service for the Lord.  During most of the years of his ministry, Perry also had to work a day job.  This meant that he would work all day and then take on the demands of a pastor during the evening and Sunday.  I never heard him complain because he found great joy and peace in serving the Lord.

I was also impressed with Perry’s knowledge of the Word of God.  He never had much formal Bible training, but he knew the Word of God.  He understood the doctrines of the Bible as well as any person who had formal training.  He loved to study His Bible.  His passion for God’s Word is expressed by the Psalmist in Psalm 119:16: “I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”

Perry also had a compassionate heart towards others.  He showed concern for any person in need.  He had a special compassion for the lost.  A few times, I would go with Perry when he did his weekly radio broadcast.  His passion for the lost was clearly seen as he would plead for the lost to repent of their sin and turn to the Lord as their Savior.  He had the unique gift of having both the heart of an evangelist and a pastor.

The fourth thing that impressed me about Perry was his great spirit of humility before God and others.  I never heard him talk about any of his accomplishments.  He did God’s work and didn’t think about the praise of men.  He sought to please God alone.  This humility was obvious to any person who had Perry as their pastor.

The greatest impact that Perry had upon my life was through his daughter, Sharon. Perry did a great job of preparing his daughter for being a wife and mother.  Sharon understands to this day what it means to minister in a local church.  Her father also taught her how to love the Word of God and minister to people with a heart of compassion.

Our Wedding (June 22, 1979)
Our Wedding (June 22, 1979)

Perry was quite well-known in the Harriman area because he had been the pastor of several local churches.  I never heard anybody say a bad thing about “Brother Perry”.  He was beloved by the people in his churches and he loved them.  He would continue to minister via the radio and preaching in churches until his health kept him from doing what he always loved.

On September 1, 2003, Perry would enter into the presence of His Savior.  The funeral visitation was a great testimony to his over fifty years of ministry.  The line to greet Perry’s widow, Iva, went outside of the doors of the funeral home. Many people told us how God had used Perry in their lives.  The outpouring of love was a testimony to Perry’s faithfulness in his service to the Lord.

Yes, Perry is missed by his family, friends and many of those to whom he ministered; however, his testimony lives on in the lives of many people.  The words of Matthew 25:23 apply to the life of Perry Mayton.  “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant;”  Perry has finished his labors here on earth, but his legacy lives on through his family and many others who were blessed by his ministry.

Moving Beyond Bitterness to Forgiveness

Canadian Rockies-Photo by: Mark J Booth

“I can’t forgive them.” “What they did to me is unforgivable.” “I won’t ever speak to them again.” ” I can’t forget how much they hurt me.” What do all these statements have in common?  They show an individual who has a bitter spirit.

Bitterness has destroyed many people because it enslaves them to the object of their bitterness.  They have no freedom to enjoy their walk with God and others.  A bitter person can infect their family, their workplace or even their church with their attitude.  “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” (Hebrews 12:15)

God has not only given us a cure for bitterness, but He has also modeled this cure.  This cure is called forgiveness.  The word forgiveness means “to send away”.  The idea is that we throw the bitter attitude out of our lives; never to retrieve it again.  “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” (Ephesians 4:31)

God gives us three reasons to cast out bitterness and embrace forgiveness.

1. Christ has forgiven us.  “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)  No matter what anybody has done to us, it is nothing compared to all of our sinful offenses towards God.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant is a great illustration of the above truth.  The landowner forgives his servant an enormous debt; yet this forgiven debtor is unwilling to forgive his follow servant a very small debt. (Matthew 18:21-35)  How can we talk about God’s mercy and not share that mercy with others?

2. Christ commands us to forgive others. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.(Colossians 3:13)  A bitter spirit is a disobedient spirit.  When we forgive a person in our heart, we are walking in obedience to Christ.  

3. Christ is our example of demonstrating forgiveness.  When Christ was being mocked upon the cross, He didn’t respond with anger and bitterness.  He called out to His Father: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) When we forgive those who have hurt us, we are acting like our Savior.  These people didn’t ask Christ to forgive them, but yet Christ poured out His forgiveness towards them.

Forgiveness is difficult for us because we think that the offended party  is “let off the hook”.  In reality, we are let off the hook.  We are now free to live our lives without being controlled by our bitterness.  God shows us the following blessings of extending forgiveness to others.

  • We have a testimony before others. “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” (Proverbs 19:11)
  • We show God’s love towards others.  Charity “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7)
  • We will have a joyful heart. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
  • We will enjoy true Christian fellowship. “To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 2:10)

Forgiveness is our choice.  We can continue to feel hurt and embittered, or we can choose forgiveness.  The offending party may never ask for forgiveness, but we can forgive them in our heart.  Many persons have lived a miserable life because they chose not to forgive someone.  Is your bitterness worth it?

“Dear Lord, you felt the pain of rejection, hatred, misunderstanding and ridicule; yet you forgave.  Help me, to forgive those who have hurt me.  My bitter spirit has not only hurt me, but those around me.  I have lost the joy in my life.  Lord, in my heart I now forgive _____________.   Thank you for your forgiveness towards me when I don’t deserve it.  From now on, help me to exercise love towards even those who have hurt me. Amen.”

NOTE: This is the sixth post in the series “Moving Beyond”.  Please check out the other posts in this series.

Grant Hoyland-A True Servant of The Lord (May 18, 1955-June 14, 2001)

 

In the early morning of June 14, 2001, the telephone awoke us.  Who would be calling this early?  I answered the phone and heard Pastor Ruben May (Johannesburg, South Africa) on the end of the line. His voice was quiet and sad. Something was wrong.  “Last night, Grant was carjacked and later murdered”.  Thoughts started flooding my mind.  “Why Grant?”  “God, why did you allow this to happen?”

Grant had entered  our lives in 1984.  He came to the church in Hillbrow as a result of being invited by a temporary secretary at the law office where he was working.  At first, his attendance was rather sporadic, but he soon accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as His Saviour.  As time went by, Grant became very involved in various church ministries.   He had a great love for the people in Hillbrow, especially the children.  He would faithfully do door to door visitation, and he ministered in the Awana Club Ministry.  He also became an excellent preacher of the Word.

After we left South Africa, Grant attended Bible College.  In 1999 we visited South Africa and stayed with Grant for a couple of weeks.  We had some terrific talks.   During that time, the Hillbrow church ordained Grant  for the Gospel ministry.  I never heard a person do so well in an ordination council.   Grant, by this time, decided to leave his full-time work as a lawyer and only work part-time.   His desire was to give as much time to the Lord’s service as possible as the Assistant Pastor of the Hillbrow Independent Baptist Church.

Though Grant is in the presence of the Lord,  he is greatly missed by many people in Johannesburg.  Here was one person who selflessly gave his life for those around him.

During the aftermath of Grant’s death, the young people in the Hillbrow church were challenged to fill the shoes that Grant had left behind.  One of the young people responded: “His shoes are too big for us to fill.”  Though many in this world never knew Grant, he was truly a man greatly used of God.

I thank the Lord for the privilege to have had been Grant’s pastor and friend. He truly lived out  1 Corinthians 15:58:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”