Part 8 – Sorrow At The Time Of Funerals
Let us visit the Man Of sorrows and the One that was personally acquainted with grief, tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus knew every kind of sorrow that you and I will ever face. He knew family sorrow and misunderstanding. Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”
There came a time when He had to get a divorce from His family and said, ”For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”
I believe there is a lot of heathenism that has crept into the funeral time in the overspending for caskets and flowers and even the time spent and wrong attitudes toward the dead. After I landed in Indianapolis the telephone call came that my earthly father had gone to be with the Lord on Saturday and the funeral was to be Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock. I had a preaching engagement in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and four speaking engagements on Sunday and without any difficulty, I made the decision that I should stay and preach those five times and then go home Monday morning for the funeral. And yet a decision like that is made in the face of misunderstanding. But why? My dad no longer needed me and I believe he would have had me to stay and preach to the living because souls were saved in the services.
You know, you’re misunderstood more for doing right than you are for doing wrong because the world understands wrong better than it does right. Brother Jack Hyles and I were talking on the phone and he gave me a scripture in the book of Ezekiel, chapter 24, verse 18, that sure vindicated our actions. “So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.” That verse tells me that he preached in the morning and in the evening his wife died and the next morning, he took his place on the wall and spoke again because he did what the Lord commanded.
I believe the funeral time ought to be a time of strengthening for Christians and an invitation to the lost to be saved. And if I could have my requests carried out, if I were to come to physical death, I would want the cheapest casket that could be bought and preferably just a homemade box and be dressed in one of my old suits, no flowers, and my casket be buried if possible in the piney woods of Culloden, or in the valley at the Boys’ Home. I would want a good warm, evangelistic sermon preached and an invitation given for lost people to be saved. And it would be my desire that half of whatever insurance we might have go immediately to the work and the other half for Mrs. Roloff, and my definite will be expressed that our children and grandchildren and sons-in-law live for Jesus and be soul winners.
There are too little provisions made for the cause of Christ when Christians come to die. Just like the rich man died and Jesus said, “Then whose shall those things be?” Luke 12:20. I believe we ought to make sure that our goods that we leave will be left in the hands of the work of the Lord or in Christian hands that will properly administer them.
Why would any Christian die without making provisions to leave a final testimony in the form of a gift to the cause of Christ? I’m not talking about to some rich denomination or heavily endowed enterprise.
When Jesus died, He reminded us that He was leaving us His peace, His joy, His power, and sending that other Comforter to make real His presence and His Word. There ought to be more than sentiment at the services of the saved.