Sixteen years ago today, the 2nd of March 2007, the Lord saw fit to call to Himself our 11-year-old grandson, David Alexander Nye. He was a “spittin image” of his dad, Dale Nye. David loved being on the work site as his father was building a house. He mimicked many of Dale’s movements, even in how and what he ate. His personality was pleasant, and he loved little children. We treasure a picture of him sitting in a rocking chair with his baby sister, Audrey, with the most pleasant expression of delight on his boyish face. His death was a shock to all of us, and his “loss” to our family was and continues to be, from our vantage point here on earth, incalculable. We would not wish him back, and we acknowledge God’s ways are always righteous and above our ability to comprehend. So we have not questioned God’s goodness in the snatching away from our family circle our precious David. But the vacuum he left can never be filled, and the pain, though bearable with the passing of time, will never completely go away.
My thoughts of late have been toward David since his birthday was the 1st of February, and his passing the 2nd of March. So many memories. Once, when he was about seven, we were driving home from church following a Sunday-morning message I had preached on heaven.
David, out of the blue, said he did not want to go to heaven. When I asked him why, he said because he did not want to be separated from his dad, or something to that effect. Well, I of course assured him that his dad was headed for heaven eventually, and that we would not be separated from him and other loved ones who were trusting Jesus and would also spend eternity in heaven.
David’s older brother, Tim, started a mowing business when Tim was about 11. He employed David, and the two of them mowed and trimmed several yards each week, mostly in their neighborhood on Indy’s southside. It was not unusual for David to quit because his brother was a taskmaster and often pretty impatient with his sole employee. But, week after week, they would get their differences ironed out, and David would “rehire.” That business is still going, by the way, headed up by the little baby that David was rocking in the picture, Audrey, and assisted by the little baby sister that David never met, Amy, who was born just a couple of weeks after David died.
David’s salary was pretty meager, of course, but he proved to be a good steward of what God had given him. In the fall of 2006, following our annual Faith Promise World Missions conference at church, David asked his grandmother how he could give to missions through faith promise. Well, Ellen was glad to get David a set of giving envelopes which, though it was late in the fall and there was not much mowing yet to be done, he used faithfully, giving $2 each week to world missions through our faith promise giving program. He was looking forward to continuing that giving program when the 2007 spring mowing season got underway. Before that would happen, though, David’s faith would become sight and he would be with Jesus.
Following David’s homegoing, I challenged anyone who wanted to join us to give, in memory of David’s commitment and surrender to Christ, $2 each week to world missions. We would be called “David’s Band.” Many took up that challenge. To this day, there are still a good number of folks who give $2 a week or a multiple thereof—over and above any other gift—to world missions as members of David’s Band. They perpetuate his desire to honor Christ by giving some of his income to advance world missions.
David’s life and testimony are embodied in a song that he sang as a solo one evening service at Thompson Road Baptist Church, just days before he was called to glory. The words of the song, “As the Deer,” are: “As the Deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after You. You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship You. You alone are my strength, my shield; to You alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship You.”
In David’s memory, and etched upon a tombstone over a little plot of sod in a cemetery a few miles from where he grew up, are these words that I wrote in tribute to his life, his love of Christ, and his loyalty to friends, faith and family: “David: you were ours these precious years; we give you back to God with tears. You made our life bright with your smile, you were God’s gift for just a while. You’ll ever be within our heart, and those in Christ are not apart. You’re only “there,” and we are “here,” but in our Savior, you’re so near. Thanks for your love, your kindness true. And, ever, David, we’ll love you.”
David’s Band. May his tribe increase. May each of us pant after God as the deer. And, may the cause for world missions to which David was committed—with what little he had to give—be our heart, too, for reaching and winning a waiting world with the good news that Jesus saves!
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” (Ps.42:1)