Summary: This funeral was for Christian lady who served in the church but had serious healthy problems in latter years of her life.
Opening and eulogies by family members prior to this message.
I had the privilege of pastoring Katie and her family for fourteen years between 1991 and 2005. When I came to _________ Church, Katie was there waiting for me, and when I left she was still here supporting the work of the Lord. This church is here today because Katie and others like her were faithful to God’s call on their lives.
Katie loved to sing for the Lord and to teach His word. I remember when she taught the book of Hosea and so beautifully brought out the heart of God toward His people. I remember when she sang the song “Thank You” written by Ray Boltz. The song begins with the words, “I dreamed I went to heaven.” For Katie that is no longer a dream but a reality.
Paul talked about his own desire to depart and be with the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 5 he summarized the Christian attitude toward life and death. There he wrote, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (vs 1-8).
He characterized life in these mortal bodies as a groaning. We experience trials and disappointments in this life. We experience pain and sickness in these yet-to-be-glorified bodies. Katie fought with various physical ailments over the years and especially in the latter part of her life. She endured the frustration of dealing with those physical limitations. But all of that is over for Katie. She is now God's songbird in heaven. She is now free to sing unto the Lord with all her heart and soul. The former things have passed away as Katie stands in the presence of the Lord she loved so much. No more sorrow. Now more pain and suffering. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). Katie’s days of weeping are over. Her joy is now full.
No wonder we don’t sorrow like the world. We miss our loved ones when they are gone. It is a temporary separation. But we feel the loss. We miss the heart-to-heart chats. We miss the tender hugs and words of encouragement. But “we know that if our earthly house, this tent, [our mortal body] is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” For the believer, death is not the end. It is the beginning of something more glorious than we have ever experienced.
For the world, death has a note of finality to it. It is the end of their dreams and pursuits. For the unbeliever, death is the end of any opportunity for redemption. It is the beginning of eternal sorrows. But for the believer, death is our entry into the very presence of God. That’s why Paul said, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” When we leave these mortal bodies we immediately step onto the shores of heaven. Myrtle Erickson wrote a beautiful poem about that. She wrote,
Of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven;
Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s hand;
Of breathing a new air and finding it celestial air:
Of feeling invigorated and finding it Immortality;
Of passing from storm and tempest to an unbroken calm;
Of looking up—and finding it HOME!”
Katie is home. And I believe she would have me share two things with you.
(1) It was worth it all to serve Christ. The effort to get up every Sunday morning and be at church serving in whatever way she could, was worth it. The teaching about the Lord that she invested in her children and grandchildren was worth it. Her faithful financial support of the work of Christ was worth it.
In the old days we sang the hymn,