Summary: Funeral sermon for Paul Quick, member of the cleaning crew. A gentle spirit without a trace of negatives help others, labors in the house of God, and has received gentle treatment from a Christ who understands our weaknesses.
Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom ... the wisdom from above is ... gentle ... without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.
He is able to deal gently with the ... wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness.
In this noisy world, it is easy to miss those who do not to call attention to themselves. Politicians put election signs on every available inch of space; performers plan “wardrobe malfunctions” in order to get publicity; in the church, somebody is always up front giving loud praise to God but secretly hoping somebody will notice how wonderful they are. In this kind of world, it is easy to miss those quiet and gentle souls who do not ask for attention. If we are not watchful, those quiet and gentle souls among us will pass away without a trace, and we who fancy ourselves busy with big deals and oh-so-important things will miss them. It will be as though they have lived without a trace.
Paul Quick was just such a quiet and gentle soul. When Mr. McMillan brought him here to work as part of our cleaning crew, there was no fanfare, no trumpets blared. And I must confess that I went on my way, breezing through the halls and running out to my errands, hardly even noticing that there was a new face. Paul just did not call attention to himself. He did not force you to acknowledge him. If he had left us then, I would have been among those who would have said that he left without a trace. I would not have known him. But I would have missed something wonderful. For God gives to some the capacity to live with a quiet heart and a gentle spirit, not needing attention. And when God gives that gift to someone, he does leave traces. He does leave memories.
The Bible says that where there is such a gentle spirit, we will live and die without a trace of negativity – but we will leave behind a legacy of mercy and kindness.
“The wisdom from above is ... peaceable, gentle ... full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.”
Paul Quick left a legacy of mercy and good fruits among his family and friends. Family members tell me that he was so eager to help others – to repair a car or fix something in the house or just give them something they needed – so eager to help others that sometimes you couldn’t find him yourself! It was as if he had disappeared without a trace, because he was over here or over there trying to help somebody. You didn’t know exactly where he was sometimes, but it was always a safe bet that he was out offering a helping hand.
Friends, that is a gift from the Lord. That is not just normal selfish stuff; that is a gift from God.
Do you know the song, “If I can help somebody, then my living will not be in vain”? Paul lived to help somebody. He had a servant heart. That servant heart is not far from the heart of Christ. Paul’s living has not been in vain. He has left among you who loved him a legacy of mercy and good fruits, a harvest of righteousness. When you are tempted, as all of us are, to get upset and loud and aggressive, remember Paul. When you feel like nobody cares about you and that they just wish you would go away, remember Paul. Remember how for him it was not necessary to be recognized or applauded. Remember that he did what he did, almost without a trace, so that sometimes you didn’t even know where he was, but you knew he was out there helping somebody – remember that. The Bible teaches us to live without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. The wisdom from above is gentle.
But not only did Paul leave a trace of mercy and gentleness among his family and friends, he left that here in this church too. He left it by offering us his care and his good work. Where Paul had been at work, the furniture was without a trace of dust. When Paul had been on duty, the room arrangements were perfect, without a trace of disorder. It is fitting that his funeral should be on a Wednesday, because Wednesday is a high stress day for our cleaning crew here. We have sunrise prayer in this room at 6:00 a.m.; we have Wednesday Club for recovering mental patients in the social hall all morning, including lunch; we have midday prayer in here at 1:30; and then in the evening we have three or four different groups that meet, including a prayer group in our parlor. The prayer group likes their chairs to be set in a circle; you should see the chair circles that Paul created – about as perfect as if a compass had been used to mark lines on the floor! Absolutely without a trace of disorganization. You could forgive a little mess on Wednesdays, there is so much to do; but Paul, with his quiet and gentle heart, wanted to give his best to this house of God.