Summary: Funeral service for godly woman who provided by her example godly legacy for children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.
In behalf of the family, we want to thank everyone who is here whether at this location or on the Internet. Your presence is honoring to Mary and is a comfort and strength to the family.
In Psalm 116:15 we find this comforting statement: “Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints.” Something Precious Happened xx/xx/xx. God’s servant, Mary M________ went to be with the Lord. “Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints.”
As I thought about Mary’s life, a scripture in Revelation 14:13 came to me. It directly speaks to a different time and place, but in principle it is very applicable to what we are doing this afternoon. The Apostle John is writing this, and he says, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” Mary is one who died “in the Lord,” and her death is precious to God because she now is with Him in a way that surpasses anything we experience in this life.
The verse continues, “‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’” No more suffering for Mary. No more tears. No more restrictions in a worn-out mortal body. She now lays her works at the Master’s feet and enjoys His welcome home. I direct your thought to the glory she is experiencing right now in heaven.
This poem by Myrtle Erickson puts it well. It’s entitled “The Homeland.”
Of stepping on the 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.”
Lord we are here to celebrate the life of one of Your servants, Mary M________. We thank you for a life well lived. We thank you for the lessons about life we have learned through her example. We ask You to direct this meeting as it would please you. Anoint those who share today. Open our hearts to your word and your will in our own lives. Bless all that is done. Amen.
I was privileged to be Mary’s pastor for many years. And I want to begin by saying she was the kind of parishioner every pastor wants. She consistently and faithfully supported the ministry with her prayers, her financial giving, and her service to others. I never heard a complaint from Mary. I never heard her speak evil of others. James wrote, “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (3:2). Nobody does that perfectly. The tongue is not an easy member to tame. But kind, edifying, encouraging words of faith were characteristic of Mary.
When I think about Mary I am drawn to the simple, profound statement in Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” Mary lived that out. She didn’t just talk about it; she lived it! The light of that command was demonstrated in her daily life. Mary was the quiet one in her marriage. She was the rock that anchored those around her. Still waters run deep, and there was a depth in her faith that few Christians reach.
Mary did not have a lot of money, but she always gave. She didn’t give God the leftovers; she gave Him the first fruits. Often when Mary gave to the church, I would think of the widow’s mite. God does not measure our giving by the amount we give. He measures it by the amount we keep for ourselves. Mary did not consume her resources on herself. She lived simply and gave generously to the Lord.
In Luke 21 Jesus watched as people put their offerings into the treasury at the temple. The Bible tells us that as He watched he saw a certain poor widow putting in two mites. This is what He said about her gift: “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had” (1-4).
As her pastor, I never stood before the congregation saying, “Mary gave more than you all, because out of her poverty she gave all she could.” But today I have the opportunity to honor her giving, just as Jesus honored the giving of this widow in Luke 21. Mary gave in secret. But the Lord today honors her in public. Much more could be said about the way Mary lived out her faith in Christ.