In Psalm 101 King David was setting out precepts for his new kingdom when he said in Psalm 101:6 “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” Finding folks like that is easier said than done as King David was to find out, but the Lord has blessed me over the years with a few, and one of those was Lester Cranfill.

Lester Cranfill was about eighty years old when I met him, about six four and two hundred and fifty pounds he was a big man and a stout broad shouldered old truck driver.  Yet in so many ways his constant grin and his demeanor always made me feel like he was a big kid. I met him because he loved to drive and he drove cars for us when we would sell a car that was at another dealership, we would call Lester and it never seemed to matter to Lester where it was, Arizona or ten miles away in Winston Salem his response was always, “I’m prayed up and packed up and ready to go.” Those words I herd from Lester hundreds of times to me sort of defined Lester.

Lester loved to drive and the further the trip the better, as far as he was concerned and when he said those words he meant them. He had a ditty bag that was always packed up. All those years of truck driving he knew about favorite truck stops and restaurants all over the country and where ever we would send him he would tell us, “Oh Boy, now I get to go ‘Old So and So’s they have the best (fill in the blank) in the country.” I’m telling ya Lester was a truck drivin man.

The prayed up part was for real as well, Lester became a member of our men’s group there in a small town in North Carolina called Mocksville, where we meet to this day. There is a seat that no one will ever sit in because we all know that’s Lester’s seat. I never met a man who prayed like Lester. Simple honest and clear to the point with the Lord, but the thing that impressed me the most about Lester’s prayers was that Lester always prayed that God would put someone in his path that day that he could witness to. That was a prayer the Lord would answer for Lester constantly. Lester was always telling us about how he picked up stranded drivers, met someone in the grocery line, and sat next to somebody else at a diner and each time he would share his powerful testimony.

Lester was kinda brought up on the wrong side of the tracks in Mocksville. He grew up smoking and drinking and fighting. As big as Lester was I don’t think I would have wanted any part of that. My understanding was that on Depot hill, (where the bars and whatnot were back in the day) that Lester kinda had a reputation similar to Bad Bad Leroy Brown. He married early to a saint, (believe me), named Lucile, a truly wonderful lady. Yet, in his younger years, Lester would tell you, he didn’t treat her well and would get drunk and start problems.

One of those night’s he went to pick up another beer and although Lester was not at all religious at the time, he herd a word from the Holy Spirit, “Lester don’t pick up that beer, this is your last chance!”. The way Lester told it, that night he gave his heart and life to the Lord and everything changed. Lester became a member and eventually a Deacon of Turntine Baptist Church.  The drinking and fighting no longer part of his life he became more and more like Jesus.

His relationship to Lucile was of the most unique things about Lester. countless times Lester would come into our meetings all sleepy eyed and tell us how he had sat up with Lucile and talked till three or four in the morning. I would ask, “Lester what in the world could you talk to Lucile about till four in the morning?”

“Oh Robby, I just love that lady and I could talk all night to Lucille.” Lester would tell us, but we never got the details. Lester loved his family, children, and grand children with a deep abiding love that taught us all.

Then the day came when I got a call that Lester was in the Hospital with a heart attack. Painfully Lucile was on a trip to help another family member and was hours away. I rushed over and met his grandson waiting in the emergency room. Soon the doctor came out and told us that Lester was in the middle of a massive heart attack and they were rushing him into emergency surgery. The doctor told us that Lester would be wheeled down the hall and we may be able to speak to him. Moments later here he came.

Although he must have been in unbelievable pain from the heart attack you could see that, ‘Big Kid’, grin of his from way down the hall. I will never forget what he said nor how he said it. “Robby, I’m prayed up packed up and ready to go!” Lester’s last words to me and his grandson, confirmed his trust in his Savior, said in Lester style, like he was headed for a vacation somewhere, and that he was, shortly to be on the ultimate vacation.

The Lord told me I would be speaking at Lester’s Funeral and he told me to get Lester’s ditty bag. Sure enough Lucile came to me and asked if I would speak and she looked at me like I was crazy when I asked to see Lester’s ditty bag. I told her that Lester had always told me he was prayed up and packed up and ready to go and I wanted to illustrate that at his funeral. When I got home and examined the contents I have to admit I was shocked. Not at the Bible I was certain to see or the picture of his son and him standing by the big truck they both once owned. What shocked me were the diapers. I found out from his family that Lester had prostate cancer surgery years ago that had left him in a bad way. At this point I had known Lester for about eight years and I had never herd him ever complain of any pain or anything for that matter. Lester was all about helping anybody any time with anything with no mention of his pain.

I had the honor of speaking at this saint’s funeral and I guess at this point you know what I said and how I illustrated it with Lester’s ditty bag. He was “prayed up packed up and ready to go!”