Missing My Brother Rat

Brad Gill | June 25, 2021

I went to a funeral service yesterday.

Jesus wept, so it’s OK to be sad. However, my hour with those sweet people really was a celebration of a life.

My friend’s name was Raymond Gibbs, although those who knew him just called him Rat.

I’m pretty sure it was September 2014 when if I first met Rat as I walked through the doors of Pleasant Grove Baptist church south of Cordele wearing a 30-30 Ministries’ shirt. Rat was a member of a Gospel group called Glory Bound that was hosting a Gospel-singing fundraiser for the ministry. Those funds would later be used to take kids hunting while sharing Jesus with them during a weekend together.

Raymond Gibbs, aka Rat, gets ready to sing with Glory Bound at a Gospel singing fundraiser for 30-30 Ministries.

Two things Rat loved in life was hunting and his grandkids, and when you added Jesus into the mix of a weekend of hunting and kids, he was all about the mission of 30-30 Ministries.

“Y’all know Rat liked to hunt?” one of the speakers asked at his funeral.

The crowd chuckled because Rat’s passion for hunting was known countywide. I think back to the moment Rat found out I worked for GON, and it just added to the bond we already had in our Christian brotherhood.

Rat knew the GON office was near one of his favorite hunting grounds, Cedar Creek WMA outside of Eatonton. He always bragged about the big timber at Cedar Creek, and he spent many years deer hunting there with friends and family.

In recent years, Rat came to me about killing a turkey. I tried connecting him with a few folks, but it just never worked out. For 14 years, Rat chased those long-bearded rascals until he finally called me in March 2020 with the news that he had knocked one down in Dooly County.

I was so thrilled for him that I asked to write a story about his journey. He said that would be fine as long as he was able to thank those who made it happen while giving God all the glory. He knew that wasn’t going to be a problem on my end or for those in the upper management of GON.

Read Rat’s 14-year Turkey Journey

That first turkey, the number of deer or even Rat’s biggest buck were never mentioned at his celebration service yesterday.

What was mentioned over and over was Raymond’s love for people. He was a life-long member of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church and served in a number of roles there. He was a member of the Gideons and loved to share the story of Jesus through service, word and action.

There’s a lesson in this for us all.

In the words of another dear friend of mine, “I haven’t seen a U-Haul at a funeral yet.” Good word, one that Rat knew very well.

The Lord may bless me with a 140-inch buck or a gobbler with 1 1/2-inch spurs one day, but what does it really matter?

To some, this sounds strange coming from a guy who makes a living showing off other’s hunting and fishing accomplishments.

There’s nothing wrong with worldly accomplishments like big bucks and sharp spurs, as long as we’re all using those things as a platform to love and serve others while giving God the glory.

There’s only been a handful of people in my life that I’d get in the presence of and immediately find myself encouraged to be a better person, to love others and to give God more glory. Rat was one of those brothers.

You are missed Rat, but I’ll see you soon.

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  1. ShawnLumsden on June 25, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Love this Brad. Definitely gave me goosebumps at the end.

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