The name Morris Reynolds does not ring a bell in most people’s minds, nor did many meet the man who wore it, yet his life touched many people’s lives in a roundabout way. He was a stout man of six feet tall, a carpenter by trade, and a true man’s man in every way. He had a strength about him that few would have dared challenge; yet he also possessed a humbleness none could surpass. He was a man of high morals and strong convictions. He was known by his example and was held in high regard by all who knew him. He was both a man of his word and a man of few words. When he spoke, people listened. I have never met a man who commanded more respect out of those who knew him than did this man.
Above all things, Brother Morris was a man of God. He loved the Lord with all his heart and counted himself privileged to be a part of the Lord’s kingdom. He was known by close friends as Brother Morris, by others as Brother Reynolds, and by family members as Vaughn, Vaughn Morris, Morris, Papa, or Uncle Morris.
For as long as I can remember, Brother Morris attended the Dardanelle, Arkansas church of Christ, though I know he attended the Little Rock congregation and maybe others before my time. The congregation in Dardanelle met in a rented building for years, yet later were able to build their own building by saving their money and financing the rest themselves. When the new building was built, Brother Morris helped with the building and did most of the work with the help of his wife.
Whenever Dardanelle had a gospel meeting, the preacher always stayed in Brother Morris’ home. His home was known for it’s hospitality and brethren looked forward to staying with him.
Brother Morris was a teacher and one of the main leaders in his home congregation wherever he lived. He would help out congregations round about such as Jerusalem, Scotland, and Witts Springs, Arkansas and he regularly attended the meetings of other congregations within several hours driving distance. Rarely did he travel beyond the borders of Arkansas, and when he did he spent the whole time waiting to return home.
Brother Morris was a well-respected congregational teacher and Bible student. All who knew Brother Morris knew what he believed about the Bible and about the church; those who did not know what he believed simply did not know him. He was well spoken, though not outspoken. He did not look for a fight, nor was he afraid to stand his ground for the sake of truth, even if it meant standing against close friends or family members.
Brother Morris built houses of the day and spent many evenings studying to prepare a sermon. There were few teachers in his congregation and thus much of the load fell on his shoulders. If he ever complained about the weight of the load I never heard it. He did not have a high estimation of his abilities, but he was a gifted student and many benefited from his teaching and leadership through the years. One of the greatest tragedies is that there was never another man in his congregation to pair with him so that he could become an elder.
Besides being a man of God, Brother Morris was a great family man. He had four daughters of whom he was very proud. Each of his daughters married in the church and is still faithful and abounding. All four of his sons-in-laws became leaders in the church and three of them preachers. Of his thirteen grandchildren, all are faithful members of the Lord’s church. Of his seven grandsons, four have also become gospel preachers, of whom I am least.
Papa’s life came to an end before many of us were ready for it to. The last year of his life was spent in incredible pain as cancer slowly overcame him. It was difficult to watch the man that I viewed as Superman and my hero suffer in silence and slowly fade from this life. Though it has been nearly four years since he died, I still think of him almost daily and miss him more than words can express. Ever since his passing I have looked forward to the resurrection in a way that I never had before. I pray that I can follow his good example and be united with him once again.
Today a good friend posted video recordings of Papa delivering a sermon several years ago. As I watched the videos I was overcome by many emotions and memories from the past. I want to share those videos with everyone who will watch them, and I hope you will better appreciate them now knowing a little more about the man doing the preaching and what he accomplished for the Kingdom.
Video #1: https://www.facebook.com/oldhighway7churchofchrist/videos/933022520145635/
Video #2: https://www.facebook.com/oldhighway7churchofchrist/videos/933025443478676/
Video #3: https://www.facebook.com/oldhighway7churchofchrist/videos/933042930143594/