Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Angels living amongst us…

Last week I had the privilege of honoring the Reverend Ben Dove at a ceremony when we Presbyterians named our educational wing after him. Now some folks have never heard of Ben, but I can guarantee you those who have will always remember his warm caring smile, and his gentle ways.

Ben and I go way back to my Sunday school and church camp days… he presided at my wedding, baptized my kids, and has this uncanny knack to show up whenever God thinks I need to be assured that God never gives us more than we can handle. The very mention of Ben’s name tickles my soul… he has indeed blessed my life.

From my frame of reference Ben is a true disciple of Jesus. Ben’s a wonderful teacher that not only talks the talk but walks the walk through his presence alone. It didn’t take Ben long to convince me and many others that Jesus would have been a really fun fella to be around. Like Ben, Jesus was a regular guy who had this magically magnetic personality that made folks want to be around him (to remove any doubt and understand the full story of Jesus, read any of the gospels Matthew, Luke, Mark, or John from cover to cover… to me the rest of the Bible is mere commentary).

Think about the story for a minute… you’re at a wedding, they run outta wine and this guy heads over to the water supply and turns it into wine. Then you’re in this crowd with 5,000 others and this fella feeds you with a few fish and loaves of bread. If that’s not enough, you’re out in a boat in the middle of a huge lake and this guy walks over the water and hops in the boat with ya. How about the blind and lame he healed or when he rose from the dead… wouldn’t it have been something to be there with him?

When Thomas doubted, Jesus admonished his lack of faith by telling his disciples that it was much easier for them to have faith than the generations that would follow… they saw the miracles, you and I haven’t. So I’m here to tell ya that God has called millions of faith-filled servants to pick up Jesus’ mantle, and Ben Dove has certainly been one of those folks in my life… and as usual others have done a better job of capturing what I’m trying to say here… so let me conclude with a parable from a book entitled “The Ladder” by Edward Hays:



The teacher and two students were reflecting on Jesus’ parable of the Last Judgment in which the king says to the sheep – Those of you who have done good in life “Come enter into your reward” and to the goats – those who failed in life – “Depart into eternal punishment.”

“At the final judgment,” the teacher asked, “what do you want God to say to you?”

The first student answered, “I would like God to say I forgive you all your sins are wiped away.”

The second student said, “I would like God to say to me, ‘Don’t worry about all you failed to accomplish in life, I understand. Now enter into your eternal reward.'”

After a few moments the first student asked, “And teacher, at the end of your life what do you want God to say to you?”

The teacher paused then smiled and said, “I would like God to say, ‘Thank you.'”


Here’s hoping that you enjoy the angels around you as much as I’ve enjoyed the ones around me… Peace…