You know, funerals can be a beautiful thing. When a believer in Jesus Christ dies, there is something so precious about their funeral. It’s almost as if people don’t know whether to laugh or cry, celebrate or mourn. Yes, we who are left behind are sad to have to say goodbye to those we love, but when we know that goodbye is really, for us as believers, “see you soon”, it makes the separation that much sweeter.
My son Jake’s girlfriend Darcie just lost her grandpa. Today Jake and I attended the funeral and wow was I moved in my Spirit by this service. Three people spoke. One was the pastor who impressed me so much with his attention to the details of her granddaddy’s life. He didn’t just throw together a generic eulogy, I truly felt like this man had known him his whole life, the way he spoke of him. It was excellent.
One thing that he said struck me. He shared, “The Lord spoke to me a couple years ago and said, “You need to help people finish well. That’s your job.” I nodded my head in such agreement. You know, that’s our job as clergy, to equip the saints for works of service so that the body of believers may be built up. We are supposed to help people start their walk with Christ, and then we are supposed to disciple them and show them how to stay in the race relying heavily on grace, until they finish well. You see, the truth is, we don’t always start well. We don’t always race well. But, with The Word of God planted deep into our hearts and with the help of The Holy Spirit encouraging us, we can darn sure finish well. The Pastor spoke of Darcie’s grandpa’s walk with Christ and he said, “I promise you, he finished well.”
Another speaker at the funeral was his best friend since grade school. I thought to myself, if they were both 80 years old, that means that they had been friends for probably almost 70 years. He told stories of them growing up together, getting married, raising their kids together and both working hard as plant managers at different plants for their entire working lives. My heart was so moved by the beauty of their steady, stable lives. They lived lives centered around serving Christ and loving their wives, children and grandchildren. They weren’t trying to strike it rich or get their names in lights. They simply enjoyed a lifelong friendship, choosing a life well lived, loving God and loving people.
His best friend said something that made the lump in my throat finally release the tears that began rolling down my face. He said, “you can make a lot of new friends, and new friends are great, but an old friend, you can’t just go out and get, old friends are rare, and he was my old friend.” Yes, my heart leaped in love for this 80 year old man of God. His wisdom was beyond anything anyone can gain through years of study. Wisdom is proved right by her children. That’s what the Word says anyways. We were actually able to later share at lunch our similar love for the people of Haiti, where he had been four times on mission. I knew I liked this guy. 🙂
Yes, the speakers were amazing. Were they anointed authors or poets? No, they were hard working, dedicated to living right, just get out there and do the right thing, people. I have to say, those are my favorite kind of people right there. I can venture to guess they didn’t get up for work and complain all day about work, only looking forward to weekends and holidays. I bet they actually did what the bible says to do, which is find satisfaction in your work, since this is a gift from God. Yes, work is a gift. Remember that.
The service was memorable and beautiful. But, I have to say, the best part of the entire day for me happened after we finished lunch and Jake and I were leaving. Jake was saying his goodbyes and thanking people for having us and I heard Darcie’s Dad, who had just lost his father reach over, pat my son on the back and say, “It meant a lot that you were here for us today Jake. It shows your character.” And, here comes my tears again. I thought to myself, this day is an answered prayer for me. My son has chosen a future wife who has a family whose roots run deep and are grounded in character, love, hard work and service. I guess I’m an old fashioned girl, because I think we have so much to learn from our elders. I know I felt like I was taught an amazing lesson on love today. I’ll never forget how this felt.
As I write this, I’m smiling, because guess who the real winner is? Darcie’s Grandpa. He’s with Jesus right now, and there’s no better place to be. Just like Darcie’s Dad said to Jake, “It shows your character”, the joy at this wedding, and the blessed assurance of where her Grandpa is right now, shows us all his. His character was strong because he carried Christ.
Oh Yes, funerals can be a beautiful thing.