10 Years in Print: Special Edition
Home Missions Director David Crowe take a look back at the remarkable life of Trymon Messer...
I'm Going to Miss Him
By David Crowe
Throughout our lives God places special people in our paths. He uses them to shape and mold us into what we will become in Him. God has placed many wonderful men and women as examples in my own life to influence, encourage, love, pray, teach, and even rebuke me. These men and women have become an important part of who and what I am, where I am, and where I’m headed. Trymon Messer (pictured above) was one of those special people.
Trymon was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, as one of ten children. A few years ago, I preached a revival in Pontotoc, and while there, I called Trymon and told him I had checked every paved road, dirt road, and pig trail in and out of Pontotoc, Mississippi, and something terrible had happened.
When he asked what had happened, I told him someone had stolen every sign that said, “Birthplace of Trymon Messer.” All I heard on the other end was a click. He didn’t think my joke was funny, because he never sought recognition or acclaim. But I can assure you that if I lived in Pontotoc, Mississipi, I would have put up those signs. He meant that much to me.
I first met Trymon in 1978 in Nashville, Tennessee. My wife Kathey and I had just moved to Nashville, where I had enrolled as a freshman at Welch College. One afternoon, I drove out to Murfreesboro Road to the National Office Building for a tour and to meet the personnel in the various departments. Dr. Roy Thomas and Trymon Messer were the first two people I met when I entered the building. Dr. Thomas had just become the general director of Home Missions, and Trymon had been hired as associate director. After I introduced myself, I expected them to go back to their offices and allow me to roam the building on my own, but instead, Trymon told me to follow him. He introduced me to everyone in every department. When we finished the tour, I assumed he would get back to his busy schedule, but he led me into his office and told me to sit down. We talked for over an hour, and he treated me with such kindness and encouragement that
I left that day as a different man than when I arrived. Kathey and I were just a couple of kids who been married just over a year. I had never pastored a church and had only been preaching six months, but Trymon treated me like I was someone important.
I have never gotten over that meeting, and I never will. Little did I realize that 17 years later, Trymon would hire me to help him at Home Missions when he became the general director. He was my hero; he was my friend; he was my mentor, and he was my boss. After he retired from Home Missions, for the next 12 years, he continued to encourage me and give wise counsel. When I was selected to be the general director after Larry Powell retired, Trymon was excited for me, and so complimentary and gracious. I am going to miss him.
I observed three simple things in Trymon Messer that were an example to me and to thousands of others:
Trymon was a good soldier. He served his country with honor and courage as a Marine during the Korean War. He was a decorated veteran and one of the most patriotic men I have ever known. I guess this was one of the many things about Trymon that helped to forge our friendship over the years, because of my own military background. Trymon was also a good soldier for the Lord. In simple faith, believing that God could do anything, he faithfully served his Commander-in-Chief. I am going to miss him.
Trymon was a good servant. One of the things that impressed me about Trymon was that no matter what position he was given, and no matter how many great and miraculous things God did through him, he never let it go to his head. Trymon was always down-to-earth, willing to do whatever he could to help. He had a true servant’s heart. I see this missing in so many Christians today. We would rather be served than to serve others. I am going to miss him.
Trymon was a good soul-winner. Trymon was probably the best soul-winner I have ever known. He had an unusual way of putting people at ease and seeing things in them they could not see themselves. I heard him tell those soul-winning stories time and time again, and I would still laugh and cry every time. He witnessed to people and then believed God would convict them and save them. He truly believed that God could do and would do what He promised.
Trymon only went to the fifth grade in school, but he was one of the wisest men I have ever known. He was an ordained deacon, but he was the “preachingest” deacon I ever met. He used to say he didn’t know Spanish because he was still trying to learn English, but he wrote a book titled, God Did It, that has been read by thousands in English, and translated into Spanish. Today, it is being sent around the world.
Trymon’s funeral was more like a revival service than a funeral. He has this life “behind him” now, and he waits for us. I am going to miss you, Brother Trymon, but I’ll see you later.
About the Writer: David Crowe is executive director of North American Ministries (Home Missions).