Summary: A chapel message for the funeral of an elderly woman who knew the Lord.

As we gather in the presence of the Lord, I want to talk just a little bit about looking beyond our circumstances and looking into the future. Think along with me for a moment:

That rusted wreck of a car in the junkyard was once new, shiny, sleek and desirable. Those clothes we threw away or gave away were once new, fashionable, and desirable. But not anymore. Jesus referred to the things of this world as things that will rust and decay. That includes our bodies.

It was once said that the moment we are born, we begin to die. And that sounds morbid but it’s so true. We weren’t created to last forever in this world. Those of us that are a little older can testify to the aching joints, the reduction of energy that we have, the once dark hair that gets lighter or thinner as we age. And that is why we should be focused on more than what we see right now.

We all need to look beyond this life and see the eternal. We need to see the big picture instead of our own little world. We need to see the eternal world more than this one.

As the Apostle Paul said in Col. 3:2-3 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” And that tells me that even though we have to live in this world we must see the next. We need to think more in the spiritual realm, think about Christ, living for Christ both here and there.

What it comes to is what Pastor Rick Warren said in his book "The Purpose Driven Life": “It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you have to begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.

To put it simply: life begins with God. Life ends with God. And somehow we must sandwich Him in the middle of our lives."

And really, it’s the middle of our lives that matter a lot. A family member mentioned this to me last week as we were talking and so I thought I would mention it today.

When we get to the graveside, we will see many headstones marking the graves of those that have gone on before us. But I challenge you to look closely at each one of those stones. You will see the date that the person was born—then a dash. Then you will see the date that they died. Now don’t get me wrong, those dates are important to us. But in reality, the dates are not as important as that little date in between. For you see, it is that little dash that symbolizes that person’s entire life.

It is in that little dash that the person grows and matures. In that little dash we are nurtured as babies, we begin our learning process. We grow into young adults and go out on our own. We meet and marry and have our own children and start the process all over again. We age, we weaken, we pass from this world, all in that little dash.

And it is during that little dash that God calls on us to know Him in a personal way. It’s in that little dash that God offers us the gift of salvation by accepting His Son Jesus Christ so that we, too, will someday experience the beauty of heaven and that glorious reunion with our loved ones who have gone on before us.

It is what we do with the talents that God has entrusted to us that determines how much or how little is represented by that little dash. That is the part of the responsibility that is up to each one of us. We are responsible for what we do with the dashes between the dates of our births and deaths that will appear on our tombstones.

In _____’s dash, she experienced most all of the things that I just mentioned. But the most important thing she did was the day when God touched her heart and she invited Christ to be her personal Savior. By that one simple act of faith, I now know with certainty where _____ is right now, resting in the arms of her Lord, living in a beautiful mansion He prepared just for her.

Paul says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” - Colossians 3:2

The Bible tells us that this life is a vapor and a passing wind (James 4:14). Think about it, this day only has 24 hours! If you live a life to 70 years old, then you would have approximately 25,550 days on this earth. For most of you, you only have 10,000 days or less left!

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