Summary: This is a eulogy for a 33 year old Christian who was very active in the life of the church and knew Christ greatly. He was a single parent and left a 12 year old son.
Funeral Joseph Lanton 5/12/2003
by Rick Gillespie-Mobley
Brothers and sisters I submit to you tonight, that Joseph Lyle Lanton was specially created by God. God took a little piece of his father Curtis and a part of his mother Oritha and began knitting Joseph together in his mother, Oritha’s womb.
There was something God put inside of him, that a lot of us didn’t quite get. God said, “I’ve got to give him enough ingredients to give him a fiery passion, but I also want to make sure he’s a peacemaker. I want to give him a spirit so that others feel free to share their problems and concerns, but I want to make him strong enough to be frank and honest, I want him to be intelligent because I’ve got a job for him to do, but I want to make it so that he will have to study hard to keep his humble spirit. I want to make him free enough to be creative in life, but dependable enough to be counted upon when needed.
Joseph Lanton took God a little longer to create him, but when God did, what a blessing we received. Curtis, Paulette, Reginald and Anita’s lives would not quite be the same again. Joseph was one of God’s super-ordinary creations wrapped up in just an ordinary package. Joseph was not one to immediately stand out in a crowd, but if you ever got to spend time standing next to him, you knew there was something special about him.
We read Psalm 139 tonight because it was the passage Joseph chose to have read at his funeral. In that Psalm Joseph recognized that the same God who took such time and patience to create Him at birth, who later walked with him in life, would one day call him home. Joseph had a trust in God that God was in control because one of the verses says, “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Joseph was blessed, because he recognized that death is a certain reality for all of us and it can hit us at any moment. That’s why he tried to reach many of you with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures tell us that there is a way that seems right to a person, but at the end of it is death. If we are all living in order that we might some day die, then we should do a reality check to find out if we’re going to be prepared when we get to our final destination. It would be a tragedy to get to the end our lives only to find out we have lived our lives in vain.
If we’re living simply for status, money, degrees or fame, keep in mind none of these things go out with us when we leave this world. Our money will be left in the bank, our degrees will hang on a wall, our fame will be forgotten, and our status will not impress Jesus who is the king of kings and Lord of lords and Judge of everything.
If we live for these things our lives will have been lived in vain. Jesus made the statement once, “what profit will it be for a person, to gain everything this world his to offer and then die and lose his soul.” My friend are you living for things that are quickly passing away, or are you preparing for the life which is eternal.
The Apostle Paul was one of the writers of many of the books in the New Testatement, and he knew that his life was coming to an end even though he had been a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. .
When he looked backed over his life, he was pleased with what he had seen. He was able to declare in the last book that he wrote, " For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Paul could see that his living had not been lived in vain. Paul did not boast that he did things his way, but rather he had lived it God’s way.
Let’s look back at the life of Jospeh Lyle Lanton, the life of a man, who chose to put his hand, in the hands of God. As a little boy Joseph was the joy of his family. Even then there was an honesty streak running through his little body. It got on his brothers and sisters nerves, because when they did something, Joseph was going to tell the truth about who did it and how it happened.