Summary: This is the Eulogy I delivered for my father who died on Nov. 16th. It was the hardest sermon I ever delivered.
Our Father, Our Friend
John Thomas Johnson
(5/6/1931 – 11/16/2008)
I stand before you this morning representing my family in this celebratory service of the life of our father. Some of you here today knew my father long before I did so I am sure there are some memories and experiences that you shared with our father that we will never know. In all the years that God gave us with daddy, we know he did not tell us everything about his life before us. We believe that our father was a great father and was a great person. He had a quiet way about him even when he was messing with you. As you read in the program, one of the things my father will be remembered for was his mischievousness. It is my understanding that he was mischievous all of his life, but I could be wrong, maybe it was most of his life. He told me the story once of how he gave my uncle Robert, his brother, a stick and pointed at Aunt Betty, their sister, and pointed. Uncle Robert proceeded to walk over and whack Aunt Betty with the stick. I do not remember the punishment he received, but he was laughing when he was remembering it and telling me the story. This was our father. He was a great father, brother, uncle, grand-father and friend in the eyes of God. When daddy’s health started to deteriorate in August of 2005 we all sat down together with daddy to discuss what he wanted on this day. Daddy planned out this program 3 years ago with the exception of some of the names and although we all hoped it would be years before we would need it; that was not to be. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer in January of this year, he did not want a lot of people knowing and feeling sorry for him. You see, daddy was a man accustomed to doing things for everyone else, he was not accustomed to being on the receiving end. He did not want people who never visited him all of a sudden coming around and feeling sorry for him. When he got the final results, he said it was not in God’s hands and he was ready whenever God wanted him. I told him I did not want him to get depressed and wither away and he basically told me I’d be a fool if I thought that. That was our daddy. As best he could, he continued to do what he had always done. In the mornings he’d get up, have his coffee, eat his breakfast and read his Bible. When this routine changed, we knew his time was getting near. My brother-in-law Darryl told me how he always watched daddy read his Bible every morning and it was seeing this and the conversations he had with daddy that led him to accept Christ and be baptized. It was not the ministers or pastors he knew, it was a quiet man, sitting at a kitchen table, reading his bible. He told me that he and daddy would sometime have their own Bible study at the kitchen table.
His faith in God sustained him and allowed him to live a life in service to God and others. Although our hearts are heavy at his passing, we can still celebrate. For those of you who knew daddy, you know he has already preached his funeral by the way he lived. I could stand here all day and tell you about that, but daddy would not want that. His words to me from the day I preached my first sermon 27 years ago were do not make them happy twice, when you get up and when you sit down. He said say what needs to be said and sit down. I hope to do that this morning.
Today before I say anything else, you need to know that you are preaching your funeral today y the way you live. I have learned that you cannot always tell who a Christian is by the way they live because a lot of Christians do not live as an example of Christ. I hope that something I say today will inspire you to take a look at your life and the sermon you are currently writing for your funeral. Every one of us will one day be here and someone will be in charge of reflecting on our life. How we are living today will give them the information that they need. If some of us died today there would a lot that could be said, but it would not necessarily be reflective of a Christian’s life. We present a lot of “stuff” to God and dress it up as Christianity believing that God will accept it, but God does not accept just anything that we present to Him. I told you that daddy has preached his funeral and we are here to reflect on and celebrate what he preached during his life. There are two Scriptures that daddy lived by probably without realizing it. The first is from Proverbs the 22nd chapter and the second is from Ephesians the 6th chapter. Let’s start with Proverbs.