“THE TRUE MEASURE OF A MAN”
Funeral for a guy named Joe
Aug. 8, 2009
This is a Funeral Sermon I preached for a Hospice Patient.
Most of you don’t know me. My name is Randy Trotter, Pastor of Lighthouse Worship Center in Beaumont and Chaplain of Professional Hospice of Beaumont. I met Joe not long ago after he came on our service as his Hospice Chaplain. Being a Hospice Chaplain affords me the opportunity to meet many people all unique in their own way. Some of those people are pleasant to be around others are pleasant not to be around. But all are interesting, to say the least. They all have one thing in common. THEY ARE ALL DYING!
But some of the people I meet, find a real special place in my heart real fast, quick and without hesitation or even invitation. Joe was one of those to me. He just invited himself into my heart and into my life. I’ve only had a few other people since I started in Hospice Ministry like that & Joe was one of them!
Some of them have been like a grandparent to me, but Joe was a friend to me. He became a friend whom I enjoyed visiting time & time again. I felt I could just visit with him for hours & sometimes did! I actually looked for reasons to go see Joe & Frances. I kept hanging around thinking & hoping Frances would get up & fix that famous Round Steak I’ve heard so much about!
“BOTH” of these people are & were just precious to all of us at Professional Hospice. But “YOU” already know that! I’ll miss the conversations we had about God & how God changed Joe’s life so radically. He would be telling me about it & I’d look over at Frances & she’d have those eyes looking at me & shaking her head up & down pretty dramatically but she wouldn’t let Joe see her doing it!
I’d just smile, not only because it was humorous but because IT JUST WENT TO SHOW HOW MUCH GOD HAD CHANGED JOE!
Whenever I walk into a home to meet a family & patient for the first time I always qualify myself by stating that I have a “PASSION FOR SOULS” and I, somewhat bluntly, ASK THEM IF THEIR “HEART IS RIGHT WITH GOD” & IF SO EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THAT MEANS TO YOU!
I did the same with Joe. That BIG SMILE EXPLODED across his face as he told me he was saved! I could see it in his face, his eyes, and hear it in his words, his conversation! You can tell when someone is genuine especially a Child of God!
He shared with me how he’d lived his life till Jesus got a hold of him. How he used to drink & be so hard to live with and get along with. Sometimes in the midst of the disease and the frustration that comes with it, that “OLD MAN”, the scriptures speak of would slip out just a little bit. But Frances, the loving person I’ve come to know, would diffuse the situation with a soft word.
Joe worried about his children to me often. Let me tell you children something about your dad! HE NEVER STOPPED LOVING YOU! HE NEVER STOPPED CARING ABOUT YOU! AND HE NEVER STOPPED PRAYING FOR YOU! I KNOW! LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING! I’M A DAD & SOMETIMES MY LOVE IS MISUNDERSTOOD! BUT KNOW THIS HE LOVED YOU DEARLY!
Nearly every time I visited he’d bring up his children to me. He’d tell how much he felt that HE HAD “FAILED” YOU BY NOT GETTING RIGHT WITH JESUS SOONER! HE FELT “GUILT” OVER NOT RAISING YOU IN CHURCH LIKE HE SAID HE SHOULD HAVE! HE ASKED ME MANY TIMES TO “PRAY FOR YOU” BECAUSE HE CARED SO MUCH FOR “YOUR SALVATION!”
I pray for the patients & family every time I make a visit with them before I leave. But it would never fail that Joe would always ask me pray for & with him & Frances & for his Children & grandchildren! The “TRUE MEASURE OF A MAN!”
Those of you who have been by know that they have this huge beagle who when he walks across the floor drags his nails and rubs his nose against you. Joe would shout at the dog to get away & go back to his place. And then there is this scruffy dog that just “ADOPTED” Joe & Frances. Joe hated that dog. He would come to the door and look in while I was there and I’d see Joe glare at that dog like “IF I COULD I’D GET A GUN AND...!” WELL YOU KNOW!
Joe loved his family. I talked to his sister Virginia and she told me that one time when they were having some difficulties during Christmastime that they didn’t have a Christmas Tree. Joe went out in the driving rain, found a Christmas Tree, cut it down & brought it home to her soaking wet, but he made sure she had a tree! The “TRUE MEASURE OF A MAN!”
He was quite the mechanic as well. Always working on his cars so he could drive them and helping others on theirs as well.
I am told he was quite the prankster as well. As a kid, while his sister’s Sunday School Teacher was visiting once he made faces at her behind his sister’s back!
He was a person who liked to dress nice as a young man and always had his hair fixed just so! That way the girls would all notice him when he came on the scene with his friends.
That was Joe in the some of the words of his loved ones. There are so many stories to be told & all of you the coming days & future will reminisce & regale those stories with “LAUGHTER & TEARS!” AND THAT IS A GOOD THING!
The word “REMEMBER” is found #144 times in the Word of God, the Bible!
Paul, John, even Jesus spoke in the scriptures to “REMEMBER!” “REMEMBER” me, “REMEMBER” my words, “REMEMBER” my deeds, “REMEMBER” this person, “REMEMBER” this time, “REMEMBER” this happening!
To “REMEMBER” is a good thing! I encourage you to “REMEMBER!” “REMEMBER” the good times, don’t dwell on the bad times. But “REMEMBER” the “GOOD TIMES” for it’s in the “GOOD TIMES” the “TRUE MEASURE OF A MAN” is found!
Yes, I know how a person acts during “TIMES OF TROUBLE” reveal a lot but it’s also during the “GOOD TIMES” when a person is at peace, when they can care, out of measure that you find a great source as to who someone is. Sometimes bad times can bring out a fear that manifests itself in ways that are not the “TRUE MEASURE OF A HUMAN BEING, OF A MAN!”
It’s in the good times, those times of peace when someone is at rest in their spirit, that the real true measure of a man comes out. It’s when he does things that are not expected like someone WHO’LL GO CUT DOWN A CHRISTMAS TREE IN THE “POURING RAIN” SIMPLY OUT OF “LOVE” FOR THAT PERSON AND THE DESIRE TO HELP THEM AND MAKE THEM “FEEL SPECIAL” SPEAKS TO MY HEART AND SOUL IN WAYS I CANNOT EXPRESS!
It’s in the “GOOD TIMES” that the real true “MEASURE OF A MAN” comes out.
We were created to have fellowship with God. The four saddest words ever spoken in the history of mankind are found in Genesis 3:9. These words were spoken in the Garden of Eden.
You see, scripture tells us that in the cool of the day, the in the evening time that God would come down and fellowship in the midst of his creation and with his greatest creation, Man! He would FELLOWSHIP, SIT, COMMUNE, TALK, LISTEN, TEACH, & HE’D REVEL & REJOICE in the presence of that which He loved so much! Much the same way I do with my granddaughter. But then sin entered in and that “MEASURE” in which God reveled was lost.
Those “4 SADDEST WORDS” in the history of mankind were simple and profound when God spoke them out of a “BRUISED & BROKEN HEART!” He came down as He usually did and didn’t find Adam and Eve and he spoke the words that have resonated throughout the eons of time...
“ADAM, WHERE ARE YOU?”
The strangest thing happened to me once. I heard those words in my spirit. I heard those words resonate in my heart and spirit and after running as far and fast as I could I finally answered. “I’m over here! I’m ashamed! I’m broken down with sin! I’m cold & naked! I’ve tried to hide my wrongs but I can’t! I’m sorry!”
Joe heard those words! He told me so. Well, maybe not exactly in those words but in his testimony! And the greatest thing happened! He found “HIS MEASURE!” He found “HIS MEASURE IN GOD!”
Each of us, you and I, have “A MEASURE IN GOD!” A “GODLY MEASURE!” Scripture tells us that every man is given a “MEASURE OF FAITH!” Of all the times the word “MEASURE” is used in the Bible, it’s generally used with the PURCHASE OF SOMETHING! You use a “MEASURE” OF MONEY TO PURCHASE OF SOMETHING!
God gave a “MEASURE” for us! A “MEASURE” OF HIMSELF IN THE GUISE OF HIS SON, WHO WITH HIS LIFE, PURCHASED, WITH A “MEASURE” SALVATION FOR JOE DOUGAN AND FOR YOU!
WITH THAT “MEASURE” THAT PURCHASED JOE DOUGAN, JOE FOUND THE “MEASURE OF A MAN” WITHIN HIMSELF HE DIDN’T KNOW WAS THERE! A “MEASURE OF A MAN” HE COULD NEVER HAVE KNOWN OR FOUND ALONE! A “MEASURE” THAT I CAME TO KNOW THAT PUT A “SMILE” ON HIS FACE, A “LAUGH” IN HIS MOUTH, A “JOY” IN HIS HEART AND A “PEACE” IN SPIRIT!
THAT’S THE JOE I KNEW AND THE JOE I’LL REMEMBER!
Sometimes the “MEASURE OF A MAN” is not found or realized till he is gone! That’s true! The full “MEASURE OF JESUS” wasn’t realized till after His death! It was only after His “RESURRECTION” that the “MEASURE OF A SAVIOR” came into understanding!
Joe found his true “MEASURE” when he found Jesus! THE “TRUE MEASURE” GOD HAD INTENDED FOR JOE CAME OUT WHEN JESUS CAME IN!
I’ve talked about “REMEMBERING” today. Our society “REMEMBERS” dead entertainers, fallen politicians, but even after a while society forgets about them as well. BUT WHO “REMEMBERS” REAL PEOPLE LIKE JOE DOUGAN? YOU AND I, THAT’S WHO!
You would think that God would “REMEMBER” as well. He does but something you may not know about God! He doesn’t “REMEMBER” everything like you may think! He “REMEMBERS” enough but there are some things that EVEN GOD DOESN’T “REMEMBER!”
You may think, “Preacher, you’re wrong! God remembers everything!” But that’s not true. I can prove it! Joe knew it! I reminded him of it a few times.
“And their sins and iniquities, I will (REMEMBER) no more.”
Oh, what a blessing that God doesn’t “REMEMBER” that aspect of my life! My sins are blotted out, never to be laid to my charge again, never to be “REMEMBERED” by God ever again, once I’ve found my “MEASURE” and my “MEASURE” has been restored to me! That “MEASURE OF FELLOWSHIP!” That “MEASURE OF FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD!”
I’ve done a lot of Funerals as a Pastor and as a Chaplain, but I’ve never spoken at one of them like this!
I’ve seen good Funeral services and I’ve seen some real bad Funeral services. I’ve seen people wail, scream and cry. I’ve heard words of remorse that would break down the biggest of men. I’ve heard the cries that say “I’LL NEVER SEE DAD AGAIN!” But I’m here to tell you that doesn’t have to happen!
It’s been said, “WE MAY CRY BUT WE DON’T CRY WITHOUT HOPE!” BECAUSE SOMEDAY WE’LL ALL BE REUNITED TOGETHER AGAIN FOREVERMORE! WHERE THERE WILL BE NO MORE SICKNESS, NO MORE PAIN, NO MORE SORROW, NO MORE TEARS, NO MORE DEATH & SEPARATION! BUT WITHOUT “REDISCOVERING” THAT “MEASURE” GOD GAVE US IN THE BEGINNING, IT WON’T HAPPEN!
YOU’LL ONLY DISCOVER THAT “MEASURE” THROUGH JESUS CHRIST! HE SAID...
“I’VE COME THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY”
“ABUNDANTLY” IS THE “OPERATIVE WORD” FOR “MEASURE” IN THAT STATEMENT FROM THE LIPS OF JESUS!
HEAR ME! BY SCRIPTURE, YOU’LL ONLY SEE JOE AGAIN THROUGH JESUS CHRIST! FRANCES WILL SEE HIM AGAIN! SHE UNDERSTANDS WHAT JOE UNDERSTOOD! YOU’LL ONLY “UNDERSTAND” WHAT JOE “UNDERSTOOD” AND “UNDERSTANDS” EVEN GREATER NOW, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!
As many times as Joe asked me about the “SALVATION” of his family and the “Concern & Remorse” he felt for not getting right with God, for not “REDISCOVERING HIS MEASURE” before he did, I FEEL I WOULD FAIL JOE IF I DIDN’T CLOSE THIS ON A RIGHT NOTE!
I’M CONVINCED JOE WOULD WANT IT THIS WAY! HE TALKED ABOUT “JESUS’ EVERY SINGLE TIME I CAME TO SEE HIM! HE WAS “HUNGRY & THIRSTY” FOR MORE OF HIS “MEASURE” THAN ANY OTHER HOSPICE PATIENT I’VE EVER HAD IN 7 YEARS OF HOSPICE MINISTRY!
THE “MEASURE” JOE “REDISCOVERED” IS THE SAME “MEASURE” MANY OF YOU SITTING HERE THIS MORNING ARE LOOKING FOR! EVERYBODY IS LOOKING FOR THAT “MEASURE” WHETHER THEY REALIZE IT OR NOT!
AND IT IS IN “FINDING OR REDISCOVERING” THAT “MEASURE” THAT THE “TRUE MEASURE” OF YOUR HUMANITY WILL EMERGE! THAT “ORIGINAL HUMANITY” THAT GOD ENVISIONED THAT WAS LOST IN THE GARDEN! THAT “MEASURE” GOD INTENDED FOR YOU FROM THE BEGINNING!
Joe found his “TRUE MEASURE!” The “TRUE MEASURE” of a man was not wasted on “JOE DOUGAN” once “JOE” found his Lord and Savior, once “JOE” found that his “TRUE MEASURE” was found in Christ Jesus!
How about you? Have you found your “TRUE MEASURE?” in life! It’s been said that everyone leaves a “LEGACY!” Some “LEGACIES” are better than others some are not! Joe Dougan leaves a “GOOD LEGACY” from that lives in every single person he came in contact with and impacted by him.
Joe leaves a “GOOD LEGACY” found in “HIS TRUE MEASURE!”
I want to pray with you as I close this morning. I want to give you opportunity for the “TRUE MEASURE” through Jesus Christ! That same “TRUE MEASURE” Joe found in Jesus! I know Joe would want it this way!
Prayer for the “TRUE MEASURE” SALVATION!