A Fellowship In Christ Jesus

A fellowship in the World, but not of the World

Confirming Defending Bearing the Gospel of Christ Jesus

Robert Klaiber

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An Old Soldier
Crosses the Finish Line

Moreover it is required in stewards,
that a man be found faithful.

1 Corinthians 4:2

Brother Robert was a true soldier of the cross. No better example could be set before us of service and suffering for Christ.

A local newspaper article reported a brief history of Brother Robert's ministering, in which it stated the following:

Tall and gaunt, with the sign draped over him, the Rev. Robert Klaiber looks like a scarecrow selling salvation. He wears a roll-up hat, a red plaid flannel jacket and a sandwich board—two placards, hanging over the shoulders in front and back. Generations ago, it was a common form of advertising. It's with 6-inch tall block letters, filling the space between his neck and hips— “Jesus said Ye must be born again 'John 3:3.” The quote is in red, the rest in black. On his back it reads—“Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life John 14:6.” Jesus' words again blaze in red.

On a late Tuesday afternoon, bright and cool, Klaiber stands wearing his sign on the dangerously busy comer of Griffin Road and U.S. 98 in Lakeland.

The volume of traffic is high, and so is the noise. Every time the light changes, he makes a quarter turn to face the oncoming traffic. Smiling broadly—Klaiber smiles a lot—he says with mock combativeness, "I'm ready to do battle."

For almost 30 years, in the blue icy winters of Massachusetts and New Hampshire and under Florida's white-hot summer sun, in sleet, wind, and rain, Kaiber has kept up his lonely work of notifying staggeringly indifferent drivers about the gospel. He says that God told him one day to wear the word and he's been doing it ever since.

Klaiber is a familiar sight here. Last year, before his second heart attack, he would spend several hours at a time on this corner. But he’s almost as well known in Bartow, and he has flashed his sign like a beacon to warn sinners in almost every major city in Florida. Now 89, he can stand for only an hour or two at a time. He says he has an ulcer on one leg that won't heal. "The Lord manages to get me by. It's no fun when you get home at night. But it doesn't make a difference. I've got to keep going," he says matter-of-factly.

Saturday, January 1, 2000

I first met Robert in 1997. Driving through Lakeland I saw a man standing in the intersection of Griffin Road and U.S. 98 and I stopped and went over to meet and encourage him in the work. I came up behind him and said hey, as he turned to meet me I was surprised to see a tall slim frail 87-year-old saint. I spent the next several hours standing with him talking laughing and witnessing to passerbyers.

A more faithful steward nor a greater burden for souls will not be found. Five days a week morning and afternoon he would fight off the pain and failings of his flesh and stand for the Lord. Through the many years of his ministry, he has been for the most part self-supporting. The Church he has been associated with the one he currently attends not only does not support his ministry, they think him an embarrassment and hindrance to their Church expansion programs.

On one of my visits, I gave Robert some of Dr. Ruckman's tape messages. When I return the next time he said to me, "Say, ain’t you the guy who gave me those Rookman tapes? Say, if I had the strength I would go to his Church."

For the most part of his ministry, Robert was an army of one for the Lord. Regardless of the difficulty or personal suffering, Robert stood. Each day after standing for the Lord, Robert would go home and put on a pair of inflatable leggings to force the fluid up out of his legs. The worry on the face of his wife, Madeline, was evident. She had been raised a Quaker and met Robert when he was attending Bible college. I do not quite remember where, but I think it was in Rhode Island.

Bro. Robert had told me that when he was finishing High School and about to go off to college, his hard-drinking no-nonsense father had a dramatic change in his life. He quit drinking and his attitude became humble and kindly. He now spent most of his free time working on the building and yard of the Church he was attending. He had gotten saved but Robert did not understand. He went off to college and then got a job with one of the big oil companies and went to South America.

During the years he was working in South America he began to invest and developed his stock market system. He said he was doing good, the system was working and he made quite a bit of money. Enough that he decided to quit his job and move back to New York City and work his system.

He was walking down the street one day and Billy Graham was being broadcasted for somewhere. He said, “I heard that and I said, that’s me there talking about.” Robert trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. "Lose the money," was the first thing Robert says the Lord told him.

Robert lost the money, gave it away, save for enough to go to Bible College and start his new Christian life with Madeline. He took positions as a couple different Churches but that was not where his heart was. Missions, that was Robert. He had said to me that, “I love those bums, they were my kind of people.” There was not a pretentious bone in Roberts body. Mission work is what he did until his late 60s when his heart began to give him trouble. The cold weather was too much for him in the Northeast and they moved to Florida taking the word to new locations.

Life In Christ = Service—Sacrifice —Suffering

Robert Klaiber
A Servant in Christ Jesus,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Be like Brother Robert Klaiber, be "a voice of one crying in the wildness."

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