Summary: This is a funeral service I have used several times, most recently in the situation where I doubted the salvation of the individual, and the family was mixed with believers and unbelivers. It is a way to honor the individual, but still present the gospel
THE “3 R’S OF DEATH”
In school, we used to refer to the importance of learning “The 3 R’s” – and of course we meant “Read’n, writ’n, and rithmatic…”
As we gather here today – not to mourn the death of Wayne Thompson, but rather to celebrate his life and all it has meant to those that have loved and known him throughout his years here on the “sod” of this old earth – I want us to learn three “R’s” that will help us in dealing with not only Wayne’s death, but also in learning to live our own lives.
In John 11, we find the story of Jesus, coming to the tomb of Lazarus who had died some 4 days before. In that story, we find that Jesus had been notified of the fact that Lazarus was sick, but had delayed His coming … knowing that Lazarus would already be dead when he arrived.
Let’s pick up the story in Verse 21 (read all, down through 44)
The way in which Jesus responded to the death of His friend Lazarus gives us a lot of insight into ways that God the Father might expect us to respond when one of our own has been called home.
1. The scripture says that “Jesus wept” … the outward show of His sorrow. [Their sorrow touched Him, too.]
2. It also says He “groaned in His spirit” … the inward depth and pain that death brings, that which we sometimes can’t express to anyone else … at least not in words. [His grief was personal… nobody else can really know how much it hurts sometimes..]
I think there are three things we should learn as we come together for a service such as this one:
I. WE SHOULD REMEMBER (Wayne Thompson)
1. Jesus “wept” because I think He remembered … He remembered the person Lazarus was … He remembered the times they had eaten and fellowshipped together in their home. [Maybe he remembered the Time Martha had gotten all bent out of shape at Mary because she wasn’t helping to prepare dinner … sitting before the feet of Jesus and clinging to his every word.]
2. Today, as we think of Wayne, we remember: [I had asked some of the family to choose a word or phrase that would summarize this one’s life as it related to them.
Here are some of the words that they shared with me the other evening::
· Opinionated – never bashful or ashamed to give you his.
· Lovingly Contrary – he would balk when you wanted him to move, and move when you wanted him to stay – but always with a twinkle in his eye. His “being difficult was his expression of affection.”
· “You would never get off easy … “ (If he had a needle, he would use it …).
· Honest – Fair “If he owed you he paid you – when he bought it he paid for it
· Stubborn –
· Wouldn’t quit (no quit in him) … stayed hooked until it was done
YET, AT THE SAME TIME …. (those that knew him ….)
· Some of those same traits made him a Hard Worker – gave an honest day.
· Inner strength – courage: as we have all witnessed these past two years in his battle against cancer.
· YOU can think of some other words that describe Wayne …
[I did notice that I never did hear the word PATIENT during our discussions ….?]
II. We should learn also that Death teaches us to REVIEW (our own lives)
1. As Jesus encountered each of the players in this account, I believe he caused them to have to review what was going on in their own lives.
2. What were they doing that had been so important before death came knocking?
3. Death does that – it suddenly levels the playing field. We are all on equal footing.
4. It calls us to review our own lives because the scriptures tell us that we too, will some day go through the door that Wayne has walked through.
5. Jesus asked Martha, and then later Mary – do you remember the things I told you … do you recall the times we talked about eternity – What Do You Believe About Those Things? DO YOU STILL TRUST ME … DO YOU STILL THINK THAT I CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS SITUATION? Are you believing ME still?
III. We should also learn that Death teaches us to REFOCUS (our own direction)
1. Suddenly, possessions and plans didn’t seem very important to Martha, and Mary, and other family.
2. Have you noticed that when faced with death, that our plans and possessions suddenly don’t seem so important after all.?