Meanderings of a Minister


Passing of Saints
March 3, 2016, 11:12 am
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Dawn After the Dark

Just this week, I have watched as a friend said goodbye to his father.  His father was married for 70 years and was a deacon in his church for most of that time.  He was a hard worker, a great father, an amazing husband, and a friend to his pastor.

Later this week, I will say goodbye to a friend that was a stalwart in our church.  Her husband was the pastor at our church in its history for about 10 years and helped us to move to our current location.  My friend, Edith Scruggs, was a delightful lady that always had a kind word for me, no matter how much I fumbled through my sermon.  She was always complimentary of her church and a friend to those who were here.  She was generous, helpful, and faithful.

As I reflect on these two saints, and many more that I have had the privilege to pastor over the years, I am encouraged by their example, amazed by their legacy, and a little envious that they get to see Jesus before me.  I am encouraged by their example because they are proof that God is still at work around me.  Both of these saints mentioned above were well into their 90’s and were still as faithful as their bodies would allow.  They prayed when they could not attend.  They gave when they could not go.  They lifted others up when they needed someone to lift them out of bed.

Can I say that I want to be like them?  I think I can say this and be okay because they emulate the Apostle Paul when he said, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)  They have shown a life dedicated to the display of the glory of God.  They have taken seriously the call to put others before themselves and lay down their lives for their friends.  They have shown what it means to be dedicated to their Lord and to love His Bride, the Church.

As I meditate on the legacy they have left behind, I have to admit to being a little intimidated.  They both seemed to live for God seemingly effortlessly.  They were so convinced of the reality of the presence and pleasure of God that they could do nothing but speak of Him often, share Him readily, serve Him humbly, love Him wholeheartedly, and represent Him faithfully.  They have shown what it takes to be wholly His.  As I struggle with managing a home, a church, trying to be all things to all people, I wonder if I will ever be grown into the stature they reached under the direction of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

All that being said, I realize they were not perfect.  I realize that Edith and Dillan were not flawless.  I think that gives me hope, but also challenges me at the same time.  It is a comfort because it means that God can use me as He used them for His glory.  It is a challenge because it means that I have no excuse for not submitting my life to God with the same abandon.  It further challenges me to ask, “Am I follow Christ like they did?”

As I think about these two, and many other, saints that have gone on to glory, I am reminded of the words of Psalm 116:12-19:

“What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the Lord. I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones. O Lord, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds. To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the Lord. I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the Lord’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!”

Thank you, friends, for the reminder to give God all that I am and all that I have!

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