Funeral Eulogy Betty Beasley Wednesday 9-2-2020
Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 Romans 8:28-39
Let me ask you two questions. “How Do You Feel About Your Upcoming Death?” Since you know it’s coming, are you fully prepared for its arrival?”
Death first appeared in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. It was a frightening concept to them and has been for most of humankind ever since. But even before Jesus Christ conquered death by rising from the dead, God saw death in a different light.
From God’s perspective, death could be rendered completely powerless depending on who was doing the dying. The word of God says in Psalms 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints."
This means that on August 22nd , 2020 Betty Beasley, brought joy in a special way to the heart of God because her death was precious to God. It was also precious to Betty because for the first time in her life, sickle anemia was no longer an issue to deal with.
What was it about Betty that moved the heart of God on Saturday the 22nd? What was it about her, that moved our hearts to tears, when we discovered that she was now waiting for our arrival in heaven? What was it about her that causes us to celebrate this evening?
She was more than a daughter, more than a wife, more than a mother, more than a sister, more than a relative, more than a good friend, and more than a strong Black woman. Brothers and sisters, I submit to you this day, that Betty Thornton Beasley was a servant and a child of the Most High God.
The actual date of Betty’s death is probably not written down in a record book that we can easily get our hands on, you see the date on the obituary refers to the date her body ceased to function.
The real Betty Beasley, the part that lives forever, died a while ago, when she heard of the call of Jesus Christ upon her life to come follow him. That meant some changes would have to be made in her lifestyle and some things would have to change.
Jesus said, , "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a person if he or she gains the whole world, yet forfeits his or her soul?
Or what can a person give in exchange for his or her soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he or she has done.
Betty picked up her cross to follow Jesus Christ, thereby making her death a couple of Saturdays ago just a means of passing from one form of service to God to another. How does a person go about denying himself or herself to follow Jesus?
It begins with the realization that there is more to life than what we can see around us. It continues with the understanding that everyday, all of us are making choices for our lives that affect us and others.
Not only are choices being made, the word of God tells us that a record is being kept of every decision that we make, and that one day we will give an account to God for those decisions.
There use to be a beer commercial ad that said, "you only live once, give it all the gusto you can in life." That slogan actually comes from the Old Testament in the bible. Only the beer commercial stopped halfway with the verse.
The verse goes on to say, give it all you got, but realize that God is going to hold you accountable for the way you live it.
If you were to die today, would you be ready to give God an account for the decisions you have made, and would you know with a certainty that you would spend eternity in heaven with God?
If the answer is not yes, then perhaps your life is being lived in vain.
The good news about Betty, is that her living has not been in vain. God gives each of us an assignment to work and to complete in this world. We cannot let the outward circumstances of our lives hinder us in fulfilling the task that is before us.
Betty had more than her share of struggles and difficulties in life. She was born with sickle cell anemia. It is an illness in which there are not enough healthy red cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.
Sickle cell shows up at age 5 months and can cause severe pain in your body lasting for a few hours or a few weeks at a time.
Some sickle cell crisis require hospitalizations. People will often develop open sores on their legs, which is one of the symptoms that plagued Betty. The median life expectancy of a woman with sickle cell anemia was 48 and for a man it was 42.
Betty was a fighter with the Lord on her side and she lived to be 76 which is one of the oldest life span in the state of Ohio.
But what’s more impressive is that sickle cell never kept her from being able to serve God and to serve people. How many of you can say you ate some of her good cooking?
It never kept her from smiling. How many of you can say she encouraged my heart when I was down and out? It never kept her from brightening up somebody else’s day. How many of you can testify, that you knew, that if you could just talk to Betty about it, it was going to be okay?
It never caused her to give up on life or to give up on Jesus. There were three bible characters who were told they had to deny their God.
Just like Shadrach, Meshak and Abednego said to the king, "We know that our God is able to deliver us, but even if He does not, we will not serve your God." Betty knew that there was power in the name of Jesus Christ to be healed of her sickness, but even if Jesus chose to walk with her through it instead of delivering her from it, she would still remain true to the cause of Christ.
We can’t always know in in advance the sorrow that will come into our lies. That’s why Jesus tells us, “in him we shall have peace, for in the world we shall have tribulations.
Betty had more than her share of losses. It must have been difficult for her to lose her three year old daughter Doris to death.
I can’t even begin to imagine what its like to get the message that your husband, John, has been killed in a train accident.
Rather than allow her hurt and pain to turn her into a bitter person, she allowed God to have his way in her life so that she became a better person.
So many obituaries have the line, “she gave her life to Christ at an early age” and that’s the last thing you hear about the person and Jesus Christ. Not so with Betty. God gave her the gifts of hospitality, the gifts of helps, and the gifts of generosity.
The church at Glenville recognized these gifts in Betty and ordained her as deacon for which she was well suited to serve. Betty was both humble and willing to be in the background in her service for the Lord. If her health allowed it, she was at her post ready to do what needed to be done.
She didn’t start a fuss of someone forgot to mention her name. She had a certain joy and eagerness about her in serving the Lord. She got excited when asked to sew robes for the children’s choir, the Angelic Voices.
Whether she was serving your plate for a meal after a funeral, or putting food on your plate at the church picnic, she had a smile on her face. She had her own unique smile. Betty was appreciative for what you did for her.
Pastor Toby and I owed Betty so much, because on holidays and on non holidays, she would let us know we were invited to stop by and eat or to take a plate home. She showered her hospitality on us.
Once she discovered Pastor Toby loved greens, she would get them ready and give her a call. She insisted that you keep on eating more.
I was not only Betty’s pastor, but also her lawyer. When I would do work for Betty and she asked how much was the charge, “I would say Betty, you have blessed my family in too many ways for me to charge you anything.”
She would respond, “Oh no, you can’t be doing this for nothing, this is legal work.” She would not allow me to leave without taking some amount of money from her.
You know in heaven, we as believers will go before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account for what we have done with what God gave to us. When it comes to opening the books on our giving, some of us are going to want to go somewhere and hide.
Betty has been a faithful tither for many years of giving 10% of her income to the Lord. Some people say, “I live on Social Security, I can’t tithe.” Betty said, “I thank God for my Social Security check, so I have to tithe.” It all depends on how we look at things for the Lord.
God filled her with an ability to love God, and because she loved God she loved people. Betty had a certain humility about her as Jesus did, but like Jesus, nobody was going to walk over her or push her around. When she meant business, she meant business.
She loved children, but she was going to give you a whipping if you misbehaved. She was a hard worker and industrious person. She knew how to go after what she wanted. She thought of others far more than she thought about herself. She was the kind of person that got a great joy out of seeing others happy.
She loved her family. One of things I have loved about the Thornton Family is how they have reached out to help each other. Whether it was Rosie taking in Betty to live when she came from Alabama, or Eula coming down the street to help Betty in her sickness or Annie Will helping out in a family of 12 when they were kids, the common thread has been the desire to help each other.
That’s why you loved Betty so much as a mom, a sister, an aunt, and a grandmother. She stood as a rock upon which to climb and as magnet which drew you closer to her. She stood before you as one asking, “what can I do to help you out.”
Many times she didn’t wait to see what you were going to say, she would just go ahead and start doing for you what needed to be done.
My friends, many times the giants of the faith are not necessarily the ones that you see in the pulpit. Faith can only be tested by difficult trials and circumstances.
Betty has known difficulty and trials for much of her life. Her faith has been refined by the fire, and by now it should be as pure as gold.
Robert Frost wrote a poem that involved coming to a fork in the road, and choosing the path that was less traveled by. In looking back, he realized that choosing that path made all the difference in the world. Choosing to live for Jesus Christ made all the difference in the world for Betty Thornton Beasley.
Did you know that according to Jesus, most people will not go to heaven? Jesus said, Mat 7:13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
People are under the false impression that if you do more good than bad, then you go to heaven. Entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by believing God raised him the from the dead and that he paid the price for your sin, is the only way to enter that narrow gate.
All you have to do is to admit, "God, I have done a lot of things I should not have done. I realize I cannot pay for all that I have done.
I ask you for forgiveness. I accept that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, He being holy and righteous, paid the penalty for my sin. I invite him to come into my life and take control of it."
You will make numerous decisions in your life between your birth and your death. But the only decision that will still be personally affecting you a 1000 years from today, is what did you do with Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches there will certainly be a resurrection of everybody from the dead, and then comes the judgment of God.
Deacon Betty Thornton Beasley is prepared for that Judgment. Like the Apostle Paul she can say, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
For those of us who die without Jesus Christ, Betty will only be a passing memory. For those of us who die in Christ, she’s waiting for us to join her in that great reunion that will certainly take place.
For the word of God teaches, 1 Th 4:13-18 Brothers & Sisters, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.