For his 90th birthday, Garth Smith, devote Christian and retired elder of Renton’s Springbook Church of Christ, wanted to deliver one last sermon.
His daughter Nancy Clark turned that last sermon into a “celebration of life,” honoring his 70-plus years of working with churches, his wife, their anniversary and both their birthdays, on Oct. 13.
Damon Rutherford, who works at the church, introduced Smith before his “final” sermon as a good servant of the Lord and a hard worker. He told stories about Smith being the first one shoveling snow to save a church roof in Maryland in the ’90s. When they both moved to the west coast, Smith suggested to Rutherford that he go to Springbrook.
Smith was an associate minister and then elder at Springbrook. Five years ago he stepped down to take care of his wife, but remains a regular member of the church. But he told Springbrook elders that he wanted to deliver a final message to the congregation, in the form of a sermon, when he turns 90. He was eager to get up to the podium on Sunday.
In his sermon he said his lifelong goal was to be an elder, which he was here and at another church. Smith was baptized at age 12 in a small church in Texas, and talked about the joy of that moment for him. He asked for members of the congregation about the thrills and despairs in their lives, discussed sinning and left with a message about leaving this life and moving onto the next.
“There’s some bad things in this life, and we need to understand there’s some good things. And God wants us to live a good life,” he said.
Smith ended with thanking attendees, including family and friends from all over the country. The sermon ended with a song, “This World is Not My Home” which connected with Smith’s ideas about Heaven that he discussed in his speech. Then a slide show following the sermon included videos from grandchildren in Virginia and Texas.
His wife, Beaulah Smith, was determined to come to the sermon despite health obstacles. Beside being Garth Smith’s birthday, the couple was also celebrating their 72-year wedding anniversary. She also asked for the congregation to pray for her as her husband takes care of her, so that she could have the strength to do the same for him.
“Thank you Garth for your sermon, for your time. Beaulah thank you for being here, and for all you’re going through to try to get here,” Rutherford said. “Ain’t it wonderful, ain’t it wonderful.”
Garth Smith also said he has asked the elders if he can do another sermon at 100, and is waiting to hear back on that.