Funeral yesterday. It was wonderful. First of all, it was for Robert J. Matthews. He is as Christlike a person as there is. The place was packed so I'm not alone in thinking so. Plus, there were some wonderful talks aobut the Plan, about Christ, about Joseph Smith and Bro. Matthews love for all of them. And then Boyd K. Packer was there and spoke for a minute. He called Bob "a treasure." It was beautiful.
I've got some nice, nice memories of Bro. Matthews, too. Back in 1989, I was on a plane on our Israel trip on my way to the bathroom. I knew he was the writer of the LDS Bible Dictionary, and there he sat in his seat reading THE BIBLE DICTIONARY. I had to stop and ask "Why are you reading that?" He simply responded "To see what I once knew." Kinda funny. Kinda like him. He liked low-key funniness.
He worked for LDS Church Education, for a long time he was Dean of the College of Religion at BYU and had his PhD from BYU in Ancient Scripture. Now, most CES instructors are kinda show people, but he wasn't. Like they said today, he was as much at home talking to a student custodian in the hall as he was meeting a general authority. He knew answers to things that most people have no idea there are answers to. So it was wonderful asking him questions. But it wasn't the answers, it was the rapt attention he paid to the questioner, never in a hurry and never implying that the question was uninspired. Those sparkling brown eyes were with you and the smile, gentle and kind. He seemed almost excited that he was talking to you -- and he made everyone feel like that. He was a true teacher. He wanted to teach and tht was his living, breathing, constant purpose. He was always aware of his students, never his own importance or his students' awareness of him.
I do believe that our gifts come with us from the pre-earth life. And I do believe that Bro. Matthews gifts were strong when he came here, but were intensified to where he was when he died by a life well-lived and focused on Christ, in touch with the Spirit and with years of concerted effort on his part. Catching up would be impossible, but with the time I've got left, I'd like to find myself becoming a little more like Bob.