Summary: This is a funeral sermon for an elderly preacher and a dear friend. It speaks of forsaking all to follow Jesus.
I’d like to begin by giving our condolences to Sister Betty Jo, Sister Sandy, and all the friends, family, and loved ones of Bro. Marion Davis. He was a husband of more than 50 years. He was a father. He was a brother. He was a great friend. This world will simply not be the same without him, and he will be greatly missed. But at the same time, through the tremendous tears, the grieving pain, and the burdensome heartache, there lies an unmistakable, undeniable comfort, by which our hearts can expel a sigh of relief knowing that our beloved brother is safe, secure, and joyful in the presence of his Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ.
Many folks would see Bro. Davis come into church on Sunday mornings with that serious and solemn look on his face. They would watch this stone wall of a man come down the aisle and take his seat. He commanded respect. But Bro. Davis was not always serious and solemn. As my family and I got to know this dear friend over years, we were blessed to see his humorous side. He liked a good laugh just as much as anyone. He enjoyed good fellowship, and if you caught him at the right time, you might even get him to dance. He was loved and respected by all. He loved his home church and remained devoted to it until his health hindered him from attending. Many times he walked in those doors when he didn’t feel like it, but he loved to come to church. He loved to be with the people of God. He loved to hear the word of God. He loved to preach the word of God. He loved his family. His wife and daughter are especially near to his heart and very dear to him. His life impacted many people, and you didn’t have to live locally to be impacted by the life of Marion Davis, as a man named Rick from California discovered. A prayer by Bro. Davis followed him 2500 miles and saved a woman’s life. Near and far, he touched lives. With these things said we come to our text verses this evening. They are found in Mark Ch. 1:14-18.
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.” (KJV)
Here we find the Lord Jesus Christ fresh from his temptation of 40 days in the wilderness. There he withstood the devil, upheld the will of God, and is ready to go full force into his earthly ministry. He knows he will need someone to help spread the good news around the world. As he is walking along by the side of the sea one day he spots these two men, Simon and Andrew, fishing. He invites them to follow him. Seems like a strange proposal. They had never met before, but nonetheless, the two brothers decide to take Jesus up on his invitation, and the Bible says they forsook their nets. Many people are faced with that very same decision today. Jesus Christ has invited you to follow him and be a partaker of this thing called eternal life. Yet many upon receiving this greatest of all invitations still seem a little shaky, they seem unsure, and reluctant to give up life as they know it to follow this man called Jesus. Maybe I’m describing someone here tonight. You’ve heard that Jesus is good and gives a blessed life, but that’s not good enough for you. You need more solid evidence. Well tonight you can look no further. All the proof in the world is lying right in front of us. Bro. Marion Davis is proof of what Jesus Christ can do if people would just forsake their nets and follow him. You see, Bro. Davis made a decision many years ago to forsake his nets and follow Jesus Christ. He could have settled for something less, but he chose the Lord and he chose life, and he was given life and that more abundantly.
You may ask, what does this have to do with me. I’m glad you asked. Here we all are in the year of our Lord 2008. Our world is steadily declining. Our lives are rapidly changing each day. Very little do I see today that we can honestly call stable. We have a dwindling economy. Our country is lapsing further into a recession. Gas is predicted to be at $4 a gallon by spring. Top all this off with North Korea and Iran threatening nuclear war, and you can see that this world is on very shaky ground. This world has been built on a foundation that is unpredictable, and uncertain. Those two fishermen didn’t know from one day to the next how much fish if any they would be able to drag in. I can just about see them now out there on that sea, storms blowing, and the sea raging all around. Their watery foundation was an unstable one. It would have been very possible for their ship to have sunk and all aboard to perish. But those men decided to take a chance on Jesus. They laid down their nets and picked up eternal life. Let me tell you, when you forsake your nets and follow Jesus, you trade in your old shaky foundation for a new safe and stable foundation. Like that old song says so eloquently, How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord. The Bible says the foundation of God standeth sure having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his, and let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. The Bible says other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Thank God with Jesus Christ as your foundation you are planted firmly on the solid rock. With Jesus Christ we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. With Jesus as our foundation, the storms may rise against us, the tempest may flare, the waves may blast upon us, but thank God I remember there in the word of God when Jesus was speaking to his disciples of things that would transpire in the last days he said, “but there shall not a hair of your head perish.” Why anybody would chose to deny Jesus and go it alone in this world I’ll never know. Each day more and more people perish all around, dying without God, going off to face judgment alone. But they don’t have to perish. With Jesus Christ we have hope and an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast. He said, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”