Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Eulogy for my Aunt

The Measure Of Success Of A Christian Life

My father told me on Tuesday not to make you happy twice so I will honor his wish. We have gathered here in this church today to celebrate and remember the life of a mother, a sister, a grandmother, aunt, cousin, and friend. Aunt Betty, a quiet soul who in her own way taught those who were willing to listen.

What is the measure of success of a Christian’s life? How do we decide who was a good Christian. When we come to a service like this, when we stand and evaluate what was good and what was bad. But, how do we measure a Christian’s life? We may never tell the family members what we “Really” thought of how the person lived, but within ourselves we are giving them a grade – a measurement of success.

Let me give you a few of the top measurements that we have today. We parade them around as honors to be achieved, medals to be won and glories to be had. Here are a few of our measurements:

• Tithes: If as person tithes to the Church, to us, they are good Christians. It does not matter how they live, as long as they are tithing to the Church. Now if they tithe and give additional offerings, then they will have a very special place in God’s kingdom.

• Church attendance: If you attend Church every Sunday, every Wednesday, all the board meetings, all of the choir practices, all of the outreach programs, all of the other programs, then you are a good Christian. So what if you hate your wife, hate your husband, hate your neighbor. All of that does not matter – you’re a good Christian. Now if you are the chairman of one of the programs or boards, then you too get a special place in the Kingdom.

• Dress Code: Now we tell people to come as you are to Church, but we don’t really mean it. If they don’t look right, if they don’t smell right, if they have bad breath, or if they just don’t look like we do, then they cannot be a Christian. You see, Christian folk dress nice, they’re not dirty, homeless, on drugs, and they look like us.

• Misc. Service: Miscellaneous service includes feeding the poor (when it doesn’t interfere with the other things you have going on – like watching the game or going shopping); visiting someone in the hospital, making food for the elderly, etc.

By our standards, if a person did well – they would get an A+ in every area – like on a report card. If they did not do well, and maybe got a C or D, then they may not make it into heaven, according to our measurement. When we stand up and say all of the things about a “good Christian”, how they served, how they “did things” for others we are basing those comments on an action – not the heart. We parade our works around like an Olympic medal for all to see. This is our measurement of a good Christian, what they do – not their motivation or their hearts. We will parade someone around as a good Christian because of their ability to sing, teach or preach, even though everyone knows they are a cheat, liar and whoremonger, chasing every man or woman they come across. But if they are doing good works we tend to overlook their “bad habits”. We even over look the “messing around”, maybe the occasional beating of the husband or wife. We can overlook their little mishaps. Besides, aren’t we all just sinners saved by grace? That is the biggest lie that ever came out of the Church. By definition, a sinner is one who doesn’t know Christ and doesn’t have a relationship with God. So if you can’t be saved without a relationship with God, then if you are saved you are no longer a sinner. The true statement is “I was a sinner who is now saved by grace”. But I am not talking about sinners today; I am talking how we measure a Christian life.

Based on our measurements, maybe Aunt Betty did not meet your standards. I don’t know if she tithed or not or how often she gave to the Church. I don’t know if she went to Church every Sunday or had the best dresses and hats like some of you. I don’t know about the other services she may have participated in. But if I add everything up the way we add things, Aunt Betty probably would not have measured up. But thanks be to God that His measurements are accurate. Let me tell you based on His words how He measures a Christian life:

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