Summary: This was a funeral/memorial homily for a woman whose Christian commitment was somewhat doubtful but who at one time had professed faith. She was a person I had never met prior to her final days of illness. It encourages her family to trust Jesus for eter
Funeral/Memorial Homily for Betty L.
This evening we have gathered to remember our mother, grandmother, and friend Betty L. Betty was a woman of faith, although over the past several years she suffered much physical distress, pain, and ill health and was not able to actively participate in her Church and Sunday School Class any longer. Strokes, heart attacks, and diabetes were part of Betty’s DNA, and they were her lot over the past several years. Because of this, Scott and Vanetta became Betty’s care givers for the last seven years. Betty even suffered the loss of one leg and part of the other foot as the result of an allergic reaction to medication she had been given.
Betty was a Christian woman and a woman of prayer who valiantly raised three children as a single, working mother in a time when that was not as common as it is today.
I have appreciated the Scripture for many years that we just shared from Proverbs 31. Many times children who have lost their mothers have requested these words be read at her funeral or memorial service. Therefore, Scott and Randy, the Lord led me directly to this passage for your Mother’s memorial service this evening. Often times it has been used as the basis for a Mothers’ Day Sermon in local Churches, but it is hard for our culture in the beginning of the 21st century of the Common Era to understand Hebrew Culture and imagery we find her that was common practice some 3100 years ago.
In Proverbs 31:1 we are told who God chose to author this chapter of Hebrew Scripture in the testimony: “The sayings of King Lemuel—an oracle his Mother taught him.” We can not identify Lemuel for certain. Some Jewish Rabbis claim he was King Solomon while others believe he was Good King Hezekiah, a later King of Judah, or even perhaps an unknown Arabian prince. In the first nine verses He shares the teaching he learned at his Mother’s knee, and in the last 22 verses he praises her for her many virtues that will sustain him all the days of his life.
While much of the passage may be hard for us to decipher, I believe verses 13 through 15 are most fitting as a lasting tribute to Betty:
“She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands,
“She is like the ships of the merchant,
She brings her food from far away.
“She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and tasks for her servant-girls.”
These words remind us that Betty worked extremely hard to provide for her family. It could truly be said of her, “She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household.” Betty worked two jobs most of the time to provide for the needs of her family, and for this Scott, Randy, and all of us will be eternally grateful and never cease to “rise up and call her blessed.” Whenever anything needed to be done, Betty saw the need, found the way to do it, and accomplished the task.
Scott and Randy will always remember Betty as “one of the sweetest persons you would ever meet.” Death came to Betty’s daughter Claudia several years before it came to Betty. As hard as she had to work to provide for Scott, Randy, and Claudia, Betty still found time to serve as a Girl Scout Leader for Claudia, and one summer Scott and Randy had to go to Girl Scout Camp with Betty and Claudia. Betty always had time for her family, taking them vacationing in Canada and Upper New York State. She was always with her children whenever they needed her. The family enjoyed swimming in the ocean together, and Betty appreciated going out to dinner with the family as well.
Like King Lemuel’s Mother, Betty L. stands out as a virtuous mother. She was a mother who was always there when Scott, Randy, or Claudia needed her, and she would make certain that everything was okay for the family. Betty was the “rock” of her family; with God’s help she became that rock that held her family together. Her children always knew Mom would be there if they had a problem or just needed to talk.
Betty was a normal, every day woman who stepped up to the plate to be both Mom and Dad to her family. To Scott, Randy, and all of the many family and friends of Betty who are here this evening, please remember although now she is no longer with you physically, she will never be forgotten. King Lemuel would remind you from verse 18 of out Text: “Her lamp does not go out at night.” Remember your Mother’s love, hard work, and dedication to you, and the light of her memory will guide you all the days of your life. Her presence will be with you always.