Summary: Funeral service for Flenoid Bettis, carpenter and home improvement craftsman, former chairman of the church’s Residential Properties Committee.
It seems perfectly right that Flenoid Bettis should have passed away in the month of August, the month of stormy weather. He was born on August 15, 1926, and entered eternal life on August 23 of this year. It seems perfectly right, because this is thunderstorm season, and during this season we are concerned about several things. We are concerned about whether we will lose power, as many did this week; or whether things like trees will tumble over, as some did just the other day; or, worst of all, we are worried about whether water will flood our foundations. I have to tell you that when I enter this church building after one of those stormy sessions, my first visit is to the basement to see how much damage we have suffered. We are concerned in the stormy season whether we may lose power, lose trees, or lose our foundations. It is right and proper, then, that we should celebrate the life and mark the death of Flenoid Bettis, for he had learned the secret. He had learned how not to lose power for living; he had learned something that would not tumble over; and, most of all, he had built the foundations that would always hold strong. Praise God today that we can celebrate his life and find comfort in his death. For in the midst of the deep rivers that threaten to overwhelm, Mr. Bettis dug a deeper foundation, and it has held. It has proved strong.
The Scriptures interpret his life. Jesus speaks about a man who builds his house and lays its foundation deep down on a rock, so that when the floods came, when the deep waters came, that house could not be shaken. And the Lord Jesus spells out very clearly what it means to build such a foundation:
“I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them.” I want you to catch those three verbs – comes, hears, and acts. These three things speak to us about what we fear when storms come to our lives; and they speak to us about what Flenoid Bettis learned so well.
First, Jesus says that if you would weather the storm, you must come to Him. The first step in dealing with deep flood waters is to come to Christ and trust Him. If you would have your life anchored and firm, you must first trust Christ for your salvation.
I’ve said that when the storms come, one of our fears is that we may lose power. We are so totally dependent now on electrical power that we can do nothing without it. Without power, food spoils, houses get stuffy, and traffic becomes murderous. We fear that loss of power. But the power is going to come back. We simply have to trust and wait for it.
Flenoid Bettis was a quiet man. I’ve been speaking about deep waters; he was the sort of person about whom it is often said that still waters run deep. You could ask him a question, particularly about his construction business, thinking you might get a long answer, but typically you would just get, “I don’t think so” or “Maybe.” He was a man of few words, and did not feel it necessary to tell you more than he knew. Some of the rest of us, especially preachers, need to learn that lesson! But a man of depth, you see, need not be a man of many words. A man who knows who he is, and whose he is, is secure. He is well founded. He stands on a deep and solid foundation.
To watch Flenoid Bettis worship was to see a man serene and secure. Now Sister Lizzie, we know how excited you become when the Spirit moves you. We know that and we love you for it. Don’t ever feel inhibited about expressing your love for the Lord and your joy at His presence. But I’m sure you know better than any of us that when you would get to feeling the Spirit, and you would stand and shout, your husband would sit quietly by, and steady your arm, fan your face, and just anchor you. He would keep his hand on you and give you a foundation. Didn’t you love him for that? Standing and singing and testifying was not his way; but he had come to Christ, firmly and clearly, and that anchored him. That secured him. That gave him peace.
Oh, brothers and sisters, learn from a quiet and a serious man, that the source of power is in a firm relationship with Christ. Learn from him that it’s not about how much you say or how much emotion you express. It’s about trusting Christ first, believing in Him, and simply knowing that you are His child, and it’ll be all right. I saw that power, didn’t you, on his last day at home, when he set out to get some things done and take care of business? I suspect he knew then that he might not ever get back to his house again. But he trusted the Lord and kept his power.