Note from the Editor: My father’s brother passed away two weeks ago. Mike was youngest of three; my dad was the oldest. They both shared a career in law enforcement and my dad was asked to speak at his funeral. While the following is very much a personal and emotional plea to his unbelieving family, I encourage you to read it with an open heart. It is my desire that you experience the same joy he did in learning that his brother now waits for him in heaven; along with the urgency he felt to share Christ’s love with unbelieving family.
By Glenn Ansley, Sr.
My earliest memories of Mike go back to a photo of three cowboys we’ve always had on the dinning room wall in my parents’ home. There was no Superman back then, just Roy Rogers and his faithful horse. All three of us had one bedroom. Mike and Frank slept in one bed and I slept in another. There was a huge picture of Roy Rogers hanging on the wall between the beds. Our days were spent playing cowboys and Indians… or army games.
Mike was still in high school when I left for the Air Force. I remember Frank and I had to actually ask girls out to get a date. It seems that once Mike hit high school, the phone never stopped ringing with girls calling for Mike. My wife was telling a friend about Mike’s health a few weeks ago. This friend only met Mike once and that was over 30 years ago. Her response back was: “Oh yea, he was the cute Ansley”
After I spent 4 years in the Air Force, I returned to Sanford [FL] and joined the Sanford Police Auxiliary while starting a trucking business. Mike was right there to help me when I needed an extra driver.
In 1973 a good neighbor, and later good friend to our family, got me interested in law enforcement. That honorable man was Mike Rotundo, better known as LT. LT knew I was interested in law school and challenged me to ride with a police officer and join the Sanford Police Auxiliary. I still remember what he told me, and later told Mike; “Watch how cops have to make a life and death decision in 5 seconds and then see how it takes attorneys 5 years to figure out if they made the right decision.”
I spent a lot of my free time in college working with the Sanford Police Auxiliary. I was never as proud of my little brother as when he spoke of an interest in police work. I think it was that cowboy and Indian thing.
As I finished college and sought a career in other communities, I followed Mike’s police work with great interest. Mike was busy working whenever I would bring my family to town to visit Mom and Dad, but I could see all of his accomplishments as he added trophies and plaques to his wall of memories. I always dreamed about working with Mike but my career path took me elsewhere. I only had one opportunity to ride with Mike while he was on patrol. One time was all it took for me to realize that he was one of those special officers… the one I hoped would come as my backup if I ever needed help.
The past 4 or 5 weeks since Mike called and told me he was sick have been difficult for me — as I have realized just how little time I have been able to spend with him in the last 30 years and how little I really know him as an adult.
My one recurring thought was wondering if somewhere, sometime, someone shared with Mike how to have a personal relationship with God, and if he ever accepted God’s gift of eternal life though His son, Jesus. Yesterday, I was told that he settled that two weeks ago. I am now confident that Mike would want me to share with you what happened in his life.
What I have to say is for everyone in this room [and now reading this]. We have all heard the talk about Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ. Seeing that movie seems to have made millions realize just how much God loves us all; — seeing on screen how He allowed his Son to suffer and die to pay for our sin… when we didn’t even care or know that we needed a Savior.
The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What The Passion didn’t do was tell people how they can have that forgiveness and eternal life. We don’t have to wonder and hope that we have been a good enough cop or a good enough person
As cops, I know we don’t want to admit that we may have made a mistake. We especially don’t want to have to ask someone to forgive us for that mistake. However, the fact is… none of us are perfect.
God tells us about His love for us in John 3:16 where He says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life.” But He also tells us that this is not automatic.
Another verse in the Bible says that not all who say to Him, Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven. God is a righteous God and cannot allow sin into Heaven. On the surface, this appears to be an impossible problem; God can’t tolerate sin… we all are sinful.
God also tells us that if we will turn away from our sin and ourselves and look to Jesus, trusting Him alone to pay the price of our sin, He will forgive our sin and give us eternal life with Him. Romans 10: 9 says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In a sense, it is as simple as that… believing and confessing. But it has to be a change in your heart, a desire to spend the rest of your life serving Him, not yourself.
If this is what you want for your life, I encourage you to talk to a Christian you know [or send an email to the DEEPERDEVOTION team].
To all of you, and especially to my family, my prayer is that you will allow God, through this difficult time of your life, to give you eternal life and that you will spend the rest of your life serving Him and allowing Him to give you the comfort and direction that only He can give.
If that happens, Mike’s death will not be in vain, but will have eternal impact on your lives and the lives of future generations.