Summary: A funeral service for one of the deacons in our church.
‘When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
Today, we gather here to remember one of our Christian brothers; Don McDuffey. Don left this world on Monday, January 23, 2006. I could stand here today and say many things about Don, but the most important thing I could ever say about Don, and the one thing that means the most, is that he was a Christian who dearly loved Jesus. And because of Don’s belief in Jesus, we can see that his death has been swallowed up in victory.
We could have many people come up and give testimony on what Don meant to them, but all of them would lead in only one direction. The direction that shows Don truly loved the Lord, and that Don was an example of how to turn away from the world and turn towards Christ.
I have heard a beautiful hymn all my life. Every time I sing it, I am amazed at the choice of words the author, Albert Brumley, used as he was writing that song. The title of the song is “I’ll Fly Away”, and I want you to listen to these words.
Verse one starts with ‘Some glad morning, when this life is over.’ Why would he use the word ‘glad’ when referring to this earthly life being over? I think that is the only word we can understand when it comes to meeting Jesus, our Redeemer, in person. And we can only do that when the life we know on this earth is over.
Verse two begins with, ‘When the shadows of this life have gone.’ Everything in the Old Testament was a foreshadow of the New Testament. Everything that happened pointed to the way for the coming of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
And just as the Old Testament was a foreshadow of things yet to come, this life we know on earth is but a foreshadow of the life of eternity that is also yet to come. Don knew this and looked forward to that everlasting life, because he knew he would spend it at the Table of Grace with our Lord.
Verse three says, ‘Just a few more weary days and then.’ And sometimes our days here in this life can be weary, can’t they? Oh, sometimes the burdens we bear!
Don nearly died of cancer a couple of years ago, but the Lord reached down and healed him. Job said that as surely as man is born of woman, he will always have troubles. Don looked forward to the days where there would be no more troubles, or tears, or sickness - to those days filled with nothing happiness and love for our Lord!
In the refrain, the song says, ‘When I die, hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away!’ Can you see the absolute joy that is found in these words? The joy of winning the race; the joy of going home; the joy of being with our beloved Lord, not just for a moment, but for evermore.
Don loved the words in another song. The title is, “The King is Coming.” I think that was Don’s favorite saying. He would get a hint of a smile in his eyes and he would say, “You know, the King is coming!”
Jerry went to visit Don just hours before Don died. In that voice that is so gentle, Jerry told Don that the King was coming. And He did.
Don heard the trumpets sounding, and for the first time, Don saw the King’s face. And I can just see Don’s eyes smiling with loving excitement as he saw the King was coming; and He was coming for him!
Don loved Jesus. And Don loved each one of you. I know it would be his hope that each of you love him enough to make sure you see him again some sweet day. But to do so, you must prepare to meet him, and the only way you can prepare is by making a choice to receive Jesus as your Savior and by living your life as Don did – for Jesus Christ, and not for the world.
In 2 CORINTHIANS 5:1, it tells us how Don viewed his life here on earth.
‘We know that our body – the tent we live in here on earth – will be destroyed. But when that happens, God will have a house for us. It will not be a house made by human hands; instead it will be a home in Heaven, that will last forever.’
In 1 CORINTHIANS 9, the apostle Paul likens this life to a race. We cannot relax; not for one moment. We must keep our eyes on the end of the race – for the reward that is offered at the end of our lives does not perish but will last forever.