When I saw the title of this week’s lesson, I had to laugh. I mean…seriously, Joe?? If you only knew of Joe as the (very handsome) gentleman working at Rouse Funeral Home, you might perceive him as reserved, soft spoken, sweet, but rather serious. While he was all of those things, he also had a super quick wit and an awesome (dry) sense of humor. There is no doubt in my mind that he let out a Heavenly chuckle while waiting for me to find that this week we would discuss obituaries.
Speaking of obits, I hope you had the opportunity to read Joe’s. It was beautifully written by Lynn Taylor and Melissa Ball-Whitfield of Rouse FH, and in my opinion, captured the essence of my sweet husband perfectly. I have read it at least a thousand times. Here’s the link in case you’d like to read it again, too. Joe Price Obituary
As beautiful as Joe’s obituary reads, his lesson this week is about what should read even more beautifully as a testimony of your walk with Jesus–your daily life.
Living Like a Christian: What Will Your Obit Say?
How many of you read the obituaries? Personally, I read them almost every day. Old habits die hard, I guess.
In a lot (but not all) of them, you can learn a whole lot about a person’s life from their obituary. You can learn about someone’s family life, career, friends, service to community, hobbies, and sometimes you can even determine if they were a Christian. However, if the obituary doesn’t say whether or not the person is a Christian, and you don’t know them personally, then who really knows? What I’d like to talk about this morning is the best way to show people whether or not we follow the Lord–Living Like a Christian.
1 John 2: 6 states: “Whosoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.”
Back in October, I talked about being Christlike-meek and humble. Today, I want to talk about how Jesus met the needs of the world around him.
Jesus healed the sick, cleansed the diseased, delivered people from bondage, opened blind eyes and deaf ears. He made the mute speak and the crippled walk. He multiplied food to feed the hungry. Jesus even raised the dead.
Now, I am not telling you this morning that any of us can go around and heal a sick person or take a loaf of bread and a fish and feed five thousand. What I am telling you is that we don’t have to do “big” things like that to make an impact on the people around us. There are so many around us who suffer and hurt. We can care for the less fortunate and sick, we can feed the hungry, we can offer a shoulder to lean on or a shoulder to cry on. We can be the hands and feet of Jesus as we try to meet their needs. We can show people every single day the love of Jesus Christ.
Your obituary might say you created a family, a nice home, a successful business and more. Will it say you loved Jesus? Will it say you lived for the Lord? More important than what your obituary says about your Christian walk, what will your life say about how you lived for Jesus? Will it say you were His hands and feet?
I’ll leave you with John 20:21: “…as my Father hath sent me, I am sending you.”
What will your obit say?
I’ve actually thought a lot about what I thought my obituary might have said and how it will read much differently in light of recent events. It would be pretty easy for me to fall into a black pit of despair over what it “should” say, but will not. It won’t say that I was married to Joe for many years. It won’t say that our grandchildren are the apples of our eyes. It won’t say that, in retirement, we enjoyed trips to the beach or mountains, but enjoyed our rocking chairs on the front porch of the barn most of all. It won’t say that we grew old together, and honestly, that breaks my heart every single day.
Yes, I am still so broken hearted. But, I love Joe and I love Jesus and I want more than anything to honor them both. I hope that one day, by the grace and mercy of our Lord, my obit might read:
She chose joy, even in tragedy. She longed to have him here again, but she knew he was made whole in the arms of Jesus, so how could she possibly want less for him than that? She used her brokenness to help others. She used the words in Joe’s black leather notebook to honor his memory and to point others toward the love of Jesus. She loved on people as hard as she could. She put one foot in front of the other each day (even when she thought she could not), resolving to live her life in such a way that she would one day look into those beautiful blue eyes again…on the other side of Eternity. She honored Joe and she honored Jesus each and every day.
My sweet friend, if you are reading this, then the ink is not yet dry on the story of your life. Maybe you are mid-sentence, on one side of a comma. Maybe you feel like you are hanging on a big red question mark. Maybe the lines have all been scribbled through and you don’t know what to write next. It doesn’t matter where you are. You can write the next sentence, the next page, the next chapter in a way that honors Jesus. My friend, even when it hurts to write, and your tears spill onto the page, look to Jesus. He will wipe the tears from the page. He will hold the pen and help you write again.
Not one of us knows when God will put a period at the end of the sentence. Not one of us knows when the story of how we live as a Christian will change from present tense to past.
What will your obituary say?
…Words of wisdom from The Book of Joe