Shine as the Stars
How unlikely that a pastor who lived his entire life from birth to death in a rural area would ever have such godly influence as to baptize almost 5,000 people. In the country churchyard of Bethel Baptist Church in Charlotte County, Virginia, a modest grave marker designates the resting place of the body of the beloved pastor Elijah White Roach. How fitting that the words of Daniel 12:3 have been incised on the marker: “They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever.”
In coming to maturity, Elijah made a profession of faith and became a member of the local Baptist church. As he matured spiritually and developed leadership, he was invited occasionally to preach. At that time, a seasoned pastor, Abram Poindexeter, took Elijah under his wing and began to train him for Christian service. Elijah’s ability in the pulpit grew, and the following year a church building was constructed in Midway and thirteen members constituted the new church, and Elijah was ordained and became the pastor of that congregation. The church grew immediately. He preached two hundred times a year and kept up with pastoral visitation. Other congregations were formed, and in time Elijah was pastoring four such churches. Elijah W. Roach preached into his eighty-seventh year. In fact on the Lord’s Day before his home-going, he preached at the Midway Baptist Church, then arriving home on Monday, he fell asleep in Jesus. Great crowds gathered for his funeral, and the text used was the goal of his life. “They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 112-114.