FFF 13:1 (Jan 1967)
A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ
“Where is Caledonia, and who is the brother that is holding meetings there with Henry Fletcher?” I asked this of my host, Albert Marks, because in the prayer meeting one of the elders, Mr. Duncan, had prayed so earnestly for the meetings, and by name had prayed for the two preachers.
“Oh, that is Guy Cesar,” replied my host, “one of the more spiritual of our younger brethren.”
Much has happened since those meetings in Caledonia away back in 1928. Very much indeed!
Guy Cesar, the spiritual younger brother, although in business has been activity engaged in different aspects of the work of the Lord. He has maintained a good testimony among his contemporaries, preached the gospel in many places, shepherded the sheep of Christ’s pasture, served on the Board of Elim Homes, and on the Board of Food for the Flock Inc. and until his health began to deteriorate about two years ago, expended himself unstintingly for others and for the glory of the Lord.
Guy was born in the City of Hamilton, Ontario, in 1887, but as a child moved with his parents to a farm in Ancaster where he remained until he was 17 years of age. In later life he recalled how, even in adolescence, he was concerned about sin and the matter of personal guilt.
Feeling the need of further education and specialized training he left the farm for the Business College in the City. This provided a certain intellectual satisfaction, but gave no peace of conscience for the Lord through circumstances continued to speak about spiritual matters. His serious reflections about his personal status before the Lord so perturbed him that he sought counsel from the minister of the denomination he was then attending. This resulted in no assurance whatsoever. Notwithstanding, the God who had troubled him was ready to direct him. In the same denomination there was a devout Bible Class Leader and a group with him who loved the Lord Jesus, witnessing faithfully for the Saviour Through the influence of these happy Christians Guy was led in 1904 to put his trust in Christ for salvation. From his conversion he applied himself to the study of the Word of God, and what is equally necessary, obedience. Eventually, because of unscriptural practices, he retired from that denomination and joined the Philpott Tabernacle. There he was baptized and learned more of the ways of the Lord.
Brother James Adams of the Mc-Nab Street assembly, with whom he worked at the Westinghouse Corporation, was a blessing in his life. In 1916 he was introduced by brother Adams to the assembly. There he learned the ways of the Lord more perfectly, and there he fellowshiped for the rest of his life, acting as correspondent during the final twenty years.
In early Christian experiences our brother had his own personal problems: physical illness, sore bereavement, and the scarcity of employment. These in his mature life made him the more sympathetic toward others.
In March 1934, Mr. and Mrs. Cesar were married and established the warm hospitable home which many of the Lord’s own have enjoyed, a home where Christ was honoured, His Word revered, and His saints blessed. In the process of time brother Cesar purchased a small business of moving vans and trucks. Under him this developed into the large organization so widely known as Cesar’s Moving and Storage. Of the days of small things, brother Robert Crawford writes: “When Mr. Cesar went into the moving business, their residence was an upstairs apartment over the trucks and stored goods. When George Gould and I were going to McNab assembly for five weeks of gospel meetings, the Cesars offered to entertain us. This they arranged by moving their own bed and dresser into the living room in order that the preachers have every possible facility right at their hand.
“During those weeks the Lord worked and brother Cesar was one of those burdened in prayer for souls. I have never forgotten his faithfulness in this regard. From that the beginning of hospitality many of the Lord’s servants have partaken of the kindness and comfort of the Cesar’s homes and apartments. The friendship and fellowship begun those years ago between the Cesar’s and myself have been real and true.”
The years following the purchase of the business were full of hard work, but not so full as to be a detriment to Guy’s testimony and his interest in the work of the Lord.
Brother Cesar believed in tithing. Underneath the safe in his office was a tin box into which he placed his weekly tithe, and from which it was distributed as the Lord led. Burglars broke into the office one night, and but for divine help our brother would not have escaped. These men blew open the safe. In doing so they found the little box, but so intent were they in the search for money that they picked it up and put it on the window-sill. The police investigating, on seeing the tin box made enquiry. Guy explained that it held the Lord’s portion and that it had not even been opened.
“The Lord certainly was with you last night, Mr. Cesar,” asserted the officer. How true! “Them that honour Me, I will honour.”
So well-known was Guy’s witnessing for Christ that an elderly gentleman came into his office one day. “I understand,” said he, “that you are a true believer.”
This gentleman was the father of a clergyman, but in spite of his search for peace, he had not found it. During that visit, and subsequent ones, our brother directed him to the Scriptures and to the Saviour. Through the business man, the father of the clergyman found “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
Brother Cesar performed a ministry of visitation that few have done. On one occasion, he flew to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to be with a brother there for serious surgery. This type of ministry received even more of his attention after his retirement from business. On discovering in the hospital a former superior from the Westinghouse, Guy made frequent visits to his private ward. This gentleman had been saved after brother Cesar had left the employment of the large Corporation. In spite of age and infirmity these two enjoyed much together through their common life in Christ.
For many years brethren were deeply interested in an assembly magazine that would not be the voice of one man nor the expression of the policy of any party; brother Cesar was one of that number. In the Fall of 1954, several such brethren met under the chairmanship of Robert McClurkin at the Cesar’s residence; it was there, at the home of Guy Cesar, that Food for the Flock was born. Throughout the years he has been a staunch supporter and a wise Director. Furthermore, occasionally, he has contributed articles. At the last annual meeting, “his seat was empty and he was missed.”
From time to time during the last two years, there had been indications that physically Guy was not well. Visits to his physician did not confirm any particular diagnosis, so in spite of wanning health, he pressed forward. It was hoped that a motor trip to the west coast might restore some of the former elasticity, but God had purposed otherwise.
It seemed so befitting that on their return trip home, Mr. and Mrs. Cesar should spend a few days on Manitoulin Island, where well over thirty years ago in company with Arthur Crocker, Guy conducted a series of evangelistic services. Here among old acquaintances and new friends, he spent his last happy active weekend in Christian service.
Examination by the doctors resulted in immediate surgery for a condition that had been developing over a prolonged period. Although he survived the operation, he never regained strength. For eleven weeks he lingered in the hospital, but most of the time in a coma. On November 1, 1966, the Lord released him from the body of humiliation, and he “fell asleep in Jesus.”
From far and near, the saints of God, the direct beneficiaries of his well spent-life, mourned his passing, and business acquaintences did him honour. At the December monthly meeting of the Mover’s Association in the Hamilton area, the Chairman called for a two minute silence in respect and honour for the man who, to quote the Chairman’s words, “Put the new look into the moving business of the city.”
Brethren tied to him in the bonds of Christian love and services, conducted the funeral services, and devout men carried him to his burial. They laid his remains to rest in the Woodlawn cemetery, Hamilton, reassured that all believers are more than conquerors, even over death, through Him that loved them.