The work of the Lord is of
such a nature that it takes all kinds of servants to do the work. The
work of the church is similar to the work of the physical body. There
are many members in our physical body, and each member has its place and
work. Seldom, if ever, can one member of the body be made to do all the
work of any other member. Sometimes one member of the body may do part
of the work of some other member, but God intended that each member fill
its place. This is true with respect to the work of the church. No one
member can do the work of another member or take the other member's
place; no member of the church can say that another member is not
needed, or that the work which that member can do should not be done.
When we study the biography of the servants of God, we see the
importance of each doing his work. There was a great work in West
Tennessee for G. W. Smith to do, and he did his work.
Smith was born on January 2, 1840, in Weakley County, Tennessee, near
Dresden. He was one of a large family of children. His parents were
poor, but honest and industrious. All of the neighbors in that vicinity
were on an equality, so far as this world's goods are concerned. They
could sympathize with each other with material things. They learned how
to be in want and how to
economize. Young Smith was reared in the Methodist
faith. He became a member of that religious body in early life. He
accepted the religion of the community without examining the Bible. How
sad to think that so many good honest people have been satisfied with
the inheritance of the religion of their parents or the community in
which they lived! There were no schools of importance in his community
at that time, and he had not the means to go away from home to school.
Even if there were schools he had not the time to attend. His labor was
claimed as a support in part of the family. All the children began work
as early as they were large enough to go to the field.
the poverty and dependence upon God for daily bread his father's family
was deeply religious, and all of the children imbibed the spirit of
piety in that home. G. W. Smith learned early in life to "commit his way
unto the Lord." He grew up in the Methodist Church and continued in that
religious body until he was about forty years of age. In 1885 he was
baptized into Christ by Brother Tom Fowler. Brother Fowler did much for
the cause of Christ in that county. He was an uncle of Brother Smith.
Brother Smith continued faithful as a member of the church for several
years before be began to take public part. He saw the need of teaching
the word of God, and, though late in life, he felt the responsibility of
preaching the gospel to others. His education was limited and gospel
preachers of ability did not frequently visit that section of the State;
hence he did not have the advantage of learning from them. However, he
availed himself of every opportunity to prepare himself as best he could
to preach the gospel. Brother Smith did not become a famous preacher in
the eyes of the world; but he did become a faithful preacher of the
gospel in the humility of his own life and in the love that he had for
the truth of God. Through his influence one of his brothers, S. W.
Smith, also became a preacher of the gospel. His brother went to Texas
in early life and did most of his preaching in Texas and New Mexico.
Brother S. W. Smith at one time was president of Lockney Christian
College, Lockney, Texas.
G. W. Smith did the most of his preaching in Obion, Weakley, and Dyer
counties. He confined his labors to West Tennessee and largely among his
acquaintances. He lived such a life that his neighbors and relatives had
confidence in him, and he had influence over them for good. His
preaching was done at mission points in those counties and among the
weak congregations. A number of congregations were established through
his labors. Brother Smith was a farmer and never gave his full time to
preaching. He reared a large family and preached as opportunity was
given to him.
Perhaps the greatest work
that Brother Smith did was to train his boys in the fear of God and to
encourage them to preach the gospel. Three of his sons became preachers
of the gospel. He was the father of the lamented G. Dallas Smith, who
labored much in all of the Southern States; another son, Robert D.
Smith, has preached much in Tennessee and in Texas, and has brought many
souls to Christ; his third son, John T. Smith, Lubbock, Texas, has been
a successful preacher of the gospel for a number of years. He has
labored much in the Southern States and has spent some years in
Michigan. If Brother G. W. Smith had done nothing more for the cause of
Christ than to give to it these three gospel preachers, he would have
done a great work. All honor is due him for this contribution of three
gospel preachers to the cause of Christ
Brother G. W. Smith died near
Union City, Tenn., on December 23, 1921. His body was laid to rest in
the old family burying ground at his home place. Brother Albert Winstead
spoke words of comfort to the bereaved family and gave words of
encouragement to the sorrowing friends. Brother Smith was permitted to
live nearly eighty-two years, and about half of his time he was a
soldier of the cross and served the Lord Jesus Christ. West Tennessee
and churches of Christ there and elsewhere have cause to be thankful to
God that he lived, loved, and labored in the name of Christ.