A Tribute To Marty Pickup (Our Loss, His Gain)

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Marty Pickup
Our dear brother in Christ, Marty Pickup

I must admit that Marty and I were simple acquaintances. There are those who were much closer to him.  They would be much better at this than me. Our dads, Harry Pickup, Jr. and Jess Jenkins, were close friends. In fact, Marty was born in Ft. Worth, Tx. while his dad worked at the Castleberry church and my dad worked with the Calmont Avenue church.  My dad loves to tell the story about being at the hospital when Marty was born. My real acquaintance with Marty began when my two children attended Florida College. Then, one year we were together when I was privileged to be part of a Bible study that brother Pickup conducted in Temple Terrace, Florida for young preachers.

I loved to hear Marty speak. I loved the command he had of his material. I loved his interaction and easiness with his audience. I loved his independent thinking. I loved his insight into the material he presented on Evidences.  In fact, since Focus became an online publication that is what he has spent his time writing about. He wanted his reader and audience to know the Bible. He wanted us to understand how it was written. He was a great apologist for God’s word being God’s word. He was passionate about that.

Many loved Marty for the kind of man he was and his character. He treated others with respect. He tried to be fair and honest, even with those whom he may have disagreed, or who may have disagreed with him. I always thought Marty acted with humility and interest, not in winning an argument, but in understanding God’s word. He simply wanted those over whom he had some influence to know that God’s word was important and relevant today.

Marty was a man devoted to his family. He had great pride in each of you. I am personally acquainted with one of his daughter’s in law, Emily. I watched her grow up.  When she was dating Taylor I could not tell whether she was more interested in Taylor or Marty. I think she was just looking for a father-in-law so she married Taylor. Marty was also tremendously devoted to the care of his parents.  I had the opportunity to visit with them this past January. They were so comforted and secure that twice a week Marty came by to check on them and help them.  This makes the second of five children brother and sister Pickup have lost to heart problems. While my heart hurts for the whole family, I hurt most for them. Parents should not have to bury their children.

I don’t know all of Marty’s personal interests. I do know he loved to play tennis. That is what he was doing when he died. I know he loved Biblical studies. Did he ever finish that PHd? I know he loved the Lord’s church. He loved preaching. He loved shepherding the people of God.

As those who survive him may still be shock. The reality is that unless the Lord comes back soon, we will all experience this separation. Marty knew that. He preached it. He had lived it with the loss of his sister, Donna. I learned years ago, that to hurting hearts,  words can seem empty. So to his beloved Aimee, son Nathan and his wife Nicole, son, Taylor and his wife Emily, daughter Nicole and her husband Tony our deepest, heart-felt sympathy and love. To Harry and Joella, our deepest love. We grieve for you and with you. For all his surviving siblings we understand your loss and we hurt for you. There will be comfort from those who love you. There will lonely days and empty nights but with God as your refuge and guide you will see Marty again. You are his legacy. You will carry his memory and his life with you. People will know him because they know you. Heaven will mean all that much more to you.

As we close this tribute let’s not close without learning from the house of mourning. First, we will all see God one day. Second, we never know the moment. Third, always be prepared. In that moment the only thing that really matters is me and God. Marty had the hope of heaven and living eternally with God. In the midst of sorrow that is sweet.

For all the editors of Focus, our thanks for sharing Marty with us all.  May God be with you!

Rickie Jenkins