I first met Ed Ligon in the summer of 2000. Fresh out of seminary, my wife and I were in Little Rock participating in a residency program with Fellowship Bible Church. This residency was the brainchild of Robert Lewis, who longed to see capable graduates flourish in the ministry. Too many faltered when faced with the leadership demands of the pastorate and he wanted to help some excel. Patterned after a medical residency the program was a year of being imbedded in the life of the church. Access to every aspect of church life was granted and I learned a decade of lessons in twelve months. It was a priceless experience that has paid huge dividends in my ministry career. I am a better pastor for what I received.
Back to Ed. This priceless experience did have some calculable costs. My lodging, food, medical care, etc. all had to be covered. Then there was office space, resources, travel expenses, etc. The residency would have remained a novel idea if there were not a sponsor to fund it. Ed and Judy Ligon gave the money. I think Ed’s wealth came from the sale of valves for oil pipelines, but I’m not sure, Ed spoke little of it. What Ed did speak about was the impact of the gospel through the local church. Ed’s passion is to see lost people come to know Jesus and be welcomed into the brotherhood of believers.
Ed’s zeal for the gospel is seen in his eyes. I guess his smile just requires more real estate than his mouth can provide. When Ed speaks of Jesus and the potential of gospel-centered churches he absolutely dazzles. To me, this is his defining feature. Some may think of Ed as a man of means, but I think of him as an energetic advocate for Christ.
Ed is unwell. In fact, it is unlikely that he will be with us much longer. Sooner than later he will go to see his savior. I am confident in Christ’s welcoming of this saint. I am equally sure that those remaining will say kind things, but I want to use this opportunity to speak to Ed before he enters eternity.
Thank you brother. Your generosity towards an unproven, young foreigner has forever marked my life. Not only has your investment been a grace to me, but you now share in the benefits of my ministry. There are many who have a more adequate pastor because of your sacrifice. We are all in your debt.
Rest easy my friend. You have given much and you are now about to receive the crown of righteousness.