In Genesis 23 when Abraham grieves over the death of Sarah and buries her, we’re reminded that death is the destiny for everyone.
And attending a funeral certainly should be a reminder of that. It can be easy, however, as a funeral attendee to feel somewhat “spared” from the pain that the departed’s loved ones are going through — and while that’s true for the moment, the reality is that such pain is more than likely an inevitability for all of us. And certainly our own deaths will come in God’s timing unless Jesus returns while we’re still here.
Abraham pointed out in verse 4, “I am a sojourner and foreigner among you,” and that’s true for all of us, too. We’re just passing through this place called Earth. It is not our forever home. And believers in Jesus Christ can take comfort that through his death and resurrection, we’re adopted into his eternal family and have a forever home in Heaven that he’s at this moment preparing for us. How can our mortal minds begin to comprehend such a glorious thing?
But because we are human and have a natural attachment to this life, when we experience a loved one passing away, we are saddened by the finality of that person’s departure. And even if that that person was a Christian — and the separation is merely temporary — God has designed us to grieve in order to get through the loss. On a personal note, grief is difficult for me. It’s not that I’m embarrassed to cry; it’s that when I cry — and I mean really cry — it’s a full-body experience that’s taxing emotionally and physically. However, I also know that once the tears end, I feel so much better. Lighter. Relieved. I think that’s how God must have designed grief to be for us — a way to release the pressure valves in our hearts, as Pastor Scott mentioned, so we can cope when necessary, and then move forward. So, no, I don’t relish the idea of going through grief, but having experienced it, I know it’s necessary to navigate for the good of my own heart, soul, and spirit.
Another great reminder from our study together Sunday is that we all must make the daily decision to value: To value this very day, this very moment you’re reading these words, in fact; and to value those we love. We are not privy to God’s timetable, and we don’t know how long we have in this life, and we don’t know how long we have the people in our lives. So, let us seize this day to the extent we’re able by the grace of God, and make the most of this gift of life he’s given us. Let’s love our family. Let’s love our friends. Let’s love our neighbor. And let’s love strangers.
I’m glad Pastor Scott brought up the maxim, “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.” I’ve always bristled at that saying, because it seemed like yet another excuse to leave God out of the picture. So, I concur with Pastor Scott’s retort: “If you’re not heavenly minded, you’re no earthly good.” We all need the Lord, and if we’re not focused on Heaven — our true home — we may miss opportunities to share his love with others or bolster our own faith.
Finally, let us practice the discipline of holding loosely to the things of this world. Let us not allow ourselves to get locked in. Of course we should enjoy the gift of today that God has given us, as well as the people he’s surrounded us with — but never to the extent that it’s anything close to a be all, end all proposition. Jesus is our be all, end all — and he can’t wait to see us face to face.