A Tribute to Charles Lee Britt

When a committed follower of Jesus Christ sits in a recliner and falls peacefully “asleep” at age 87, you might think it indicates “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But for those of us who knew the man, it left us stunned.

A man of such vibrance, sharp-mindedness, and deep spirituality is rare at any age. At least to this observer, he had more miles of unworn tread. Thus the shock.

Yes, the world lost a good man recently. His name was Charles Lee Britt. But he wasn’t just any man.

Britt was alive with a capital A. After pastoring churches for forty-five years, the good reverend was “redirected” into a ministry that sends chaplains into the workplace, where he visited businesses and ministered to the personal needs of workers. I know these people benefited from his input because I experienced his encouragement firsthand on multiple fronts.

Charles also ran a small business and joined the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce, where he was active and respected.

Britt was not only a pastor, a chaplain, and a businessman, but he also served as our church’s worship leader for a time. His powerful octogenarian voice knew little octaval limits. No wonder he also had a background in radio.

Shakespeare, anyone? That’s right. The first time I heard him preach, Shakespearean passages flowed out of his mouth like the current of the mighty Mississippi alongside Memphis, where he served as pastor for many years. After those words came Scripture at an equally ardent pace, also recited from memory.

Charles was not only a student of literary works and the Bible but also of world events, modern culture, and science, always able to synch what he learned with the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the benefit of those around him.

In September, he approached me at church with a smile. Nothing new there. It fit well with his sense of humor. But then his eyes widened as he said,

“The Lord has given me an idea. Listen to this! I’ve made a jigsaw puzzle out of wood with Christian icons embedded in certain pieces.”

You see, Mr. Britt was also a skilled woodworker, and many church folks received gifts from him, such as a plaque to a newborn child that read “Jesus loves Scarlett.” I can’t remember what puzzle pieces he referred to, but you get the picture: a cross, a stone, a heart.

“Here’s the idea,” he continued. “I’m going to put them in a plastic bag and give one to each home in the development. I already have the note written that goes with them to share the Gospel. I’ll go around with the grandkids and have them toss bags onto each lawn.”

Mind you, that’s over three hundred of those custom-made wood puzzles.

“You’re going to have this ready when?”

“For Christmas!”

Right. This project will take more than two months.

In November, before the Lord rocked him to the Other Side and the rest of us out of comfort zones, I saw Charles at church and asked him how his project was going.

“I’m all done!”

[Here’s a news report by a Nashville television station about Charles’s posthumous gifts to his neighbors.]

My interaction with Charles about his puzzle project occurred shortly after he’d responded to my wife’s request to answer some theological questions her Junior Church group had. As Debbie described it, he sat and spoke at their level of comprehension and enthusiasm, just like he was one of them. That’s because he had faith like them.

At Mr. Britt’s funeral, his son, Charles, Jr., was the featured soloist. He didn’t pull a traditional song from a hymnal, though with its strong message about Jesus, its cadence, and its sound quality, his selection belonged there. Instead, he sang “Keep Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” a song penned by none other than Charles Lee Britt, Sr.

Did I mention Charles had taken a class in abstract art this year? (See picture below.) And was an active participant in the Senior Olympics? He’d claimed he received many medals. Then he admitted there weren’t many competitors his age!

If the truth be told, Mr. Britt had few peers in any age group.

Yet what was most impressionable was that he lived his active and engaged lifestyle while tending to the needs of his beloved wife, Gail. She had become dependent on him many years ago after a stroke compromised her speech and mobility. She was always by his side.

Many people are admirable and peddle positive influence, but what made us love Charles Britt was his reliance on the Savior. As our pastor said, even with Charles’s age and background, he depended on the Lord daily. And he used his gifts to point others to Jesus Christ.

What an example to emulate.


Listen to this sermon presented by Charles Lee Britt a year before his death to capture the essence of the man.

Charles Lee Britt creativity
The artwork of Charles Lee Britt

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