Summary: Funeral message and graveside statements for a 54 year old man who had a heart attack.

Funeral Message for Gayle Pearson

September 19, 2006

We are here to honor the life of Lawrence Gayle Pearson. As I have listened to the eulogy and the letter written by his children, and I have spoken with some of the family members, I have come to know that Gayle was not always what he appeared to be.

To many he was a man of principles and he didn’t back down from what he believed in no matter who or what confronted him. This made him appear to those who only knew him casually as a tough guy. But to those who knew him best, who took the time to see past that rough exterior, there was a more gentle side. To them he was a father, a son, a brother, a husband or a friend who was loyal, kind and generous.

There is no doubt of Gayle’s love for his family. All of them have agreed that he would gladly lay down his life for any one of them. With this thought in mind, I want to remind you of what Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, said about people like Gayle. In John 15:13 Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

As we see the earthly tabernacle, this body of flesh, lie before us today, we know that the man who lived in that body is no longer there. It is nothing more than an empty shell, void of life, for the spirit that gave it life has departed to a better place.

2 Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident [that] to be absent from the body, [is] to be present with the Lord."

I can see the grief in the hearts of those who loved Gayle, I know that all of you will miss him so much. Right now it seems that your own lives have come to a standstill and you wonder, “How can we go on without him? What will life be like now?” I don’t pretend to have all of your answers today, but I will tell you what I believe Gayle would want you do to.

From all I know of him, I know that he loved to hunt, to fish, to cook and to enjoy his life to the fullest and I know that’s what he would want each of you to do. You must express your grief and try to cope with the loss of his presence in this physical body, but don’t forget that Gayle still lives. He lives in your heart. He lives in your memory. He lives in every thing that he said and did in this life that will affect your lives as long as you walk this earth. Even more importantly, he lives eternally.

I believe that Gayle would want you all to continue to enjoy your life. Celebrate each day as a gift from God and make it the best day you can. The day will come when all of us will walk the same path that Gayle has walked. Should the Lord wait much longer to come back to claim his people, there will come a time when each of us will keep our appointment with death. No one can escape that appointment and none of us know the hour nor the day when our time will come.

The thing that I know Gayle would want me to say to you is this, “Make sure you are ready for that day for there is no coming back.”

I wasn’t close to Gayle as many of you were, but from all that has been said, I believe that Gayle had made his peace with God because he knew that his time was limited. If that is true then Gayle is in a far better place this morning than you or I. He is having the time of his life. He closed his eyes in death on this side and instantly woke up in the eternal glory of Heaven. Perhaps right now he is walking down one of those golden avenues and looking down at the fish swimming in the River of Life. I know that he is worshipping the God of Heaven.

But lest we all think that this will be the end of every man let me remind you that those who will go to Heaven will be few in number compared to those who do not. The Bible declares that the way to Heaven is found only by believing and confessing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It’s not enough just to believe that Jesus is Lord, but you must allow Him to be the Lord of your life. Only then will you enter Heaven’s gates.

If you know don’t know Jesus as your Savior, and don’t take care of that all-important need in your life before your appointment with death arrives, then make sure that you take a good look at Gayle before you leave because you will never, ever see him again, for you will not go where he is and you will never again be remembered by Gayle or anyone who enters Heaven.

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