Summary: Funeral service for Margaret Waddy, retired social worker and community ministry volunteer who, in dementia, became concerned about the depletion of her finances.
I don’t know anybody who has all they really want. Not really. Not everything. Oh, some of you will piously pretend to be satisfied, but, in my experience, all of us fantasize about having more. Occasionally I watch “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” and I will shout answers at a deaf TV screen, and will grumble that I’m not the one up there with Regis. I sure could use a million dollars, or even a healthy fraction of it. I don’t know anybody who has all they really want.
I do know any number of people who have all they really need, or all they can handle. I even know a few people who have more than they really need – not many, but a few. If you happen to be in that category – having more than you need – please meet me after the service and we will discuss how this church can relieve you of that terrible burden!
I don’t believe I know anybody, however, who has all they really want. But, thanks be to God, I do know people who, although they would like to have more, have found satisfaction and joy in what they have – people who have found the secret to contentment – people who are able to look at their lives and say, “Now that’s living!” “That’s really living!” Whatever the bank balance, “Now that’s living!”
Stories abound of those who were never satisfied, who never felt secure, even though their coffers were full. If you are of a certain age, you will remember all the stories about the Rockefellers and how they would grudgingly give away little dimes, ten big cents, to those in need, but no more. And if you are not of a certain age, you do know about Bill Gates and Microsoft and the charge that these folks are trying to monopolize the whole world and take us all over, lock, stock, and barrel! Takoma Park Microsoft Church – how does that grab you?!
Some, no matter how wealthy they are, do not think they have enough. They are insecure. They are without hope. They live in despair. But, praise be to God, others, without the millions, without the material things, without all the stuff, find security and life. Now that’s living!
Margaret Waddy had her share of concerns. Some while ago she began to deal with a degree of uncertainty about her resources. As the Alzheimer’s Disease that ultimately took her life began its course, she became concerned that her resources would not be enough and that having a place to live and the means to support herself were unsure. She was concerned. Would her resources last?
But despite her concerns Margaret was able to take hold of something real. Margaret is today, with her Savior, able to say, “Now that’s living!” How did this come about? Let’s find out.
I read today from the sixth chapter of Paul’s first letter to Timothy. It’s a rich passage. It would be made even richer if I were to read the entire context. But then I suspect you don’t really want to hear the entire context, this sixth chapter. It’s a little uncomfortable for the most of us who do not yet have everything we want. I mean, I don’t know that you want to hear Paul saying that there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; who wants to hear about being contented? Nor do you want to know this gruesome truth, that we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it. Oh, that’s not good news, is it? Let me skip that. So I am totally sure that you would not want me to read this verse, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” No, no, you would not want to hear that, so I won’t read it! But I will read this rich passage:
“So that they may take hold of the life that really is life.” So that they may say, “Now that’s living!”. How did Margaret Waddy arrive at that place?
First, Margaret approached her needs in faith. She did not give herself over to despair, but she approached her needs in faith. As Paul admonishes Timothy in this passage, “Fight the good fight of the faith”. Don’t let adversity get to you; deal with it in the context of faith in the God who has brought you thus far and has never failed you yet. “We’ve come this far by faith.”
A number of months ago Margaret came to see me. She laid out some financial concerns. She spoke about what both her resources and her obligations looked like, but she did not ask me for financial help. She made no appeal for a gift or for a loan. What did she ask for? She asked me to join her in prayer! How simple, and yet how profound! How childlike, and yet how wise! To approach this need in faith.