By Loren N. Raines
There was no man that David loved more than he loved Jonathan. Perhaps no greater friendship ever existed than that between these two good men. Of Jonathan David said, “Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” In lamenting the death of Jonathan, David said, “How are the mighty fallen.”
On April the 8th death claimed a mighty man, in spiritual Israel. On that date Brother J. C. Roady passed from time into eternity. I was called to speak at his funeral which was held at the building of the Church of Christ at Sullivan, Indiana where Brother Roady had lived for over fifty years. Brother Ermil Poer assisted in the service.
Perhaps Brother Roady is not too well known by the present generation. He was born in Illinois September 4, 1887. He began preaching when quite young and had preached the gospel for 70 years. He gave his entire life to the church, and spent all his life in the evangelistic field. He preached in most every state in the Union, and no man was more in demand as an evangelist. His meetings were scheduled years in advance, and he never turned down a congregation because of its size. He preached every day in the year unless he was traveling. He spent but very few days in his home. Only those who have done this type of work know the sacrifice that he made. He sometimes preached as many as four sermons in one day. He kept accurate records of all his baptisms, funerals and weddings. He baptized a total of 15,039 people, besides restoring thousands to the church. Few, if any preachers of the Lord’s church have spoken to more people. In most of his meetings the houses were packed, many times overflowing, and sometimes people had to be turned away.
Brother Roady was a self-made man. He lacked the educational advantages of most preachers of this generation. Few people knew the Bible better, and none could defend the faith more effectively. He was blessed with a strong body, a keen mind, a good memory, and a forceful delivery. He was blessed with good health, and until the last few months of his life he said he never knew what it was like to be tired. He was an impressive speaker, but seldom spoke more than thirty minutes. He said he preferred that people go away hungry, rather than foundered. They always wanted to come back for more. His sermons were simple, well organized, understandable, and Bible from beginning to end. He knew how to inform the mind, touch the heart, and move the will.
During the last several years of his life he and two other brethren pooled what funds they had, and thus created a circulating fund from which they loaned money at a low rate of interest to needy congregations to build meeting houses to meet their needs. All they requested was that the congregations pay the interest the first of each month on the unpaid balance, then make whatever payment they were able to make on the principal. As a result many loyal congregations now have adequate, comfortable places to meet, and go carry on the Lord’s work more effectively.
During the last year Brother Roady gave up preaching due to failing health. He recently had a cancerous kidney removed. The doctors said he would have recovered had it not been for complications which caused his death. He was in the hospital at Terre Haute when he passed away. He spent most of seven weeks in intensive care. He is survived by his faithful companion and a few distant relatives. The church building was packed at his funeral service. He was laid to rest in Indian Creek Cemetery in Hamburg, Illinois, near where he was born. Truly, a mighty man has fallen. As the end drew near, if suffering permitted, surely it was a comfort to him to think of those more than fifteen thousand souls he had led to Christ, and could say, as Paul said to the brethren at Thessalonica, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?”
Truth Magazine, XX:24, p. 7
June 10, 1976