The Death Of A Christian Lady
The Death Of A Christian Lady
Death and dying are a part of living. There is a time and a season for everything under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to celebrate
. The death of a child of God is a time to celebrate.
We can celebrate their choice of heaven
. Ecclesiastes, in the modern speech translations, says that God has placed eternity in our hearts. God has placed a mechanism in our heart that calls us home. Because of this, we have a natural longing for home. I believe Heaven is God's word for home... Donít you?
In John chapter fourteen, Jesus says, In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also... I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father except by Me
Jesus promises a home in heaven to those who will choose that when this life is over, we can go home.
John describes this home as a place where: There will be no more tears, no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Heaven is a place where God will live with His people and He will be their God
We can celebrate their choice of relationships
. The Bible is filled with scriptures reflecting the importance of our relationship with God and with one another.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us... Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God... Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God... God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him... For we know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren... By this all men will know that your are My disciples, if you love one another. Now abides faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.
I believe we can celebrate the fact that Neneta Hare left this world in a right relationship: with God, with her family, with the church and her neighbors. What a joy it has been to know and share such a relationship with her.
We can celebrate their choice to be a servant
. Jesus said, I came not to be served, but to serve.
Philippians chapter two tells us that Jesus was a servant. He did not count equality with God something to be held on to, something to be hoarded, something to be grasp, but emptied Himself, taking on the very nature of a servant
. Wasn't it Jesus who said, the greatest in the Kingdom is one who serves? We will ever be more like Jesus than when we are found serving one another. You see, life has meaning and fulfillment when we are found serving God, the church and one another.
We can celebrate the fact that they are now at rest
. Life is never easy. In fact, most of the time it is a constant struggle. But for the Christian, death is a time when the old order of things has passed away, and all things have now become new
. In death, the faith promises of Jesus became reality. Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls... Blessed, happy, are the dead which die in the Lord, for they shall rest from their labors.
This church can honor Neneta Hare for many reasons with many good words, but perhaps none honor her any more than the words of Solomon. A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of real value, because of her. She brings him good and never harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; She provides food for her family. She sets about her work diligently; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that all she does is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. She opens her arms to the poor, and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. She is clothed with strength and dignity; She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction to her children. She watches over the affairs of her household and never eats the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, Beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. So, give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise
Then we honor her perseverance.
I fear that most of us would have given up on life and become bitter, if we had had to deal with the trials, troubles and heartaches that Neneta had to deal with. But praise God for her perseverance. She never stopped loving the Lord. She never stopped loving, caring for and enjoying her family. She never stopped loving this church. She never stopped serving others.
Indeed she can say with Paul, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. I know there is a crown of righteousness for me which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.
Perhaps, if Neneta could speak to us today, she would say:
Donít grieve for me, for now Iím free
Iím following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call,
Iíve turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
Iíve found that place at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ay yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with time of sorrow,
I wish you sunshine for tomorrow.
My life has been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved oneís touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Donít lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
For now, God has set me free!