Summary: This is a eulogy for a 29 year old man killed in a car accident. He had made a decision to follow Christ but became a prodigal son. He was on his way from his prodigal experience when he died.
It was the year 1986. Shell and Exxon gave us gasoline for 86 cents a gallon. Boxing gave us Mike Tyson as the youngest heavyweight boxing champion of all time. Ford gave us a brand new mustang for $7,990, and Whitney Houston gave us the song “the Greatest Love of All”. But of all the things that happened in 1986, what has brought us all here together today is that on December 15th, 1986, God gave us the gift of De’Angelo Ward.
One of the most exciting things about receiving a gift that’s all wrapped up, is removing the wrapping paper and discovering what is on the inside. Life involves discovering the gifts that God has placed on the inside of people, as time unwraps what is truly on the inside of them.
Many of you are here today because you appreciated the gifts that came out of DeAngelo’s life as time moved forward from 1986.
Did you know that God had a role in your life, even before you knew what life was? It does not matter whether you are a believer, a person unsure of what to believe, or even an atheist. It does not change the reality that God was working in you from the moment you father’s sperm united with your mother’s egg.
The word of God tells us in the book of psalms
Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV) .13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
You and I are not just a bunch of random cells that came together. God says that each of us was fearfully and wonderfully made. Each of us has been created in the image of God. That means no matter who we are, or what we have done, there is a reflection of God in us. We see it in the different gifts that unfold in our lives that are a blessing to others. God is often at work in our lives, long before we acknowledge who God is or what claim God has on our lives.
As much as we like to think that we are in control of our lives, we really are not. We are all subject to all kinds of events arounds us over which we have absolutely no control. And those events can radically alter our lives in a split second. We may think we have many years to live, when in reality death may be closer to us than we think. There are people alive in Cleveland today, that won’t be alive tomorrow.
That’s one of the reasons, God has given us today, to appreciate one another and to be thankful for each other.
When God created DeAnglo in his mother’s womb, he gave him the ingredients of a grateful heart. One of the things we can learn from DeAngelo’s life is the beauty of being grateful for what others do for you. He could find a treasure in the little things he received. He received a taz blanket (the little tazmanimum devil) and it became his priceless heirloom.
When he received his first apartment he was grateful, it was just a tiny little place, with a refrigerator, and tv and a video game inside it. But to Deangelo he was just as happy as though he was moving into the excutive suite of the downtown Hilton hotel.
His father told him he was coming over to eat up ½ his food and to break all the rules in his apartment, but De’Angelo told him to come on over anyways. When his father got there, there was no carpet anywhere in the place, but he asked DeAngelo if he had to take off his shoes. Being the proud man that he was of that little apartment, DeAngelo told him, “yes, he had to take off his shoes.”
When God knit DeAngelo together in his mother’s womb, God created him with gifts for the Arts. DeAngelo was gifted artist with the ability to draw pictures that would amaze you. He could go from working on a poster board, to painting a room in a house with the same kind of impressive results. He even helped remodeled some homes.
He was gifted in the way he presented himself to the world. Pastor Kellie referred to him as petty boy in that his hair was together, his nails were trimmed and his clothes were going to match. Every artist has an eye for detail and De’Angelo was no exception.