Monday, April 2, 2012

Finishing Strong

Already this year I have been to 4 memorial services.
I don't know if it is my age or what,
but it is at least unusual for me to have that many 
in just the first 3 months of one year.

They all had the common denominator of 
the song: "Amazing Grace,
flowers,
prayers 
people sharing about the life of the one who had passed
and food. 

I also observed that they each had differences as well. 

The first was for someone who did not have a personal relationship with Jesus. Of the 4 services, this was the saddest for me. The service was a celebration of her life, but there was no hope given for those that she left behind. The family did everything according to her wishes, from what they wore to the parting song. For me, I went away feeling sad and empty for her life really was over and done.

The other three were for people who had a personal relationships with Jesus. All three came to know the Lord at different times in their life. I think that fact alone helped to flavor their memorial services. It was clear that each one of these people had wanted those in attendance to hear who Christ was in their life, especially if they had never heard before. It was the focus of their services. Yes there were songs, and stories, tears and laughter. But most of all there was Christ, right in the middle of the room. It could not be missed.

There is rarely a better time to share the Word of God than at a memorial service. It is one of the sweetest times to learn of the hope of Christ.
Each one of these "heaven bound" people had loved ones they left behind.

One of these had very few believers in her family. It was not for her lack of trying to show them the way. Even in her last breaths she was evangelizing. How awesome is that!

Another had left a legacy of faith. Her whole family were believers. The peace that passes all understanding could be felt strongly at her memorial service.

The last service that I have been to was this past weekend. It was for a man who went home to be with the Lord at an early age. He was only a few years older than me, with children still at home and a wife. From the world's prospective, it just did not seem fair or right.
The thing is, all of our days are numbered.
We do not usually have the blessing of knowing how long that is.
He did.
He made every moment count.

It was truly a joyous celebration of a life full of Christ.
It was a party,
a reunion of old friends,
hugs,
tears,
stories of Christ's faithfulness,
a community of believers having a "Gone Home" party.

He spent time before he went home to be with the Lord to love on his kids, love his wife, love his church family, love his community. He did not leave one stone unturned, for he knew his days were numbered. And his wife got it too, so she supported him on this race to the finish line. I try to put myself in her shoes and all I can do is be amazed at how the Lord sustained her during this last year.

I write all this to say...
it is more clear to me than ever that my days are numbered as well.
I am accountable for what I do on my race to my finish line.
I long to finish strong, to share Christ much, love those in my circle much,
to make my Abba Father proud.  
I long for my life to be a celebration of who Christ is.
I pray that when I leave this world for home that those that I leave behind
 have no doubt where I am. 
I hope they celebrate and have a "Gone Home" party.  
I hope that they remember me for finishing strong.
And mostly I hope they understand a little more of
who Jesus is through the life that I led.

Well...I best go get my running shoes on, I gotta get going!

  Hebrews 12:1-2
Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
let us also lay aside every encumbrance,
and the sin which so easily entangles us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of faith,
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.      

1 comment:

  1. Wow Cheryl...what a great post. I needed to hear this and thank you for it. Get those shoes on and start moving. Pray that I will do the same and get moving.
    Love you my friend and sister!
    Lisa

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