Today my husband and I attended the funeral of a sweet, wonderful, incredibly godly man who passed away last week and was an active part of our church family. What amazing perspective to sit in a service and hear person after person share about how this one man changed the lives and influenced the hearts of so many. Pat Butler was passionately devoted to God, his wife and family, and the body of Christ. He was a true servant and a daily prayer warrior. His favorite song was "Jesus Loves Me," and when we sang it as a congregation today, the simple, sweet lullaby brought tears to my eyes. I thought, "Wow, I bet he would have loved to have been here." Then I had to laugh, as I remembered he has the best seat in Heaven to experience what took place today. He has literally met his Maker, and I'm sure it was a sweet reunion full of rejoicing.
My husband and I were talking later about how this man lived in such a way that he truly walked as Jesus did. He did not hesitate to help or encourage, he was willing and ready to serve, and he was forever learning and growing, seeking all the truth he could find from daily studying the Word of God. He was faithful because he believed in the power of Jesus, and he shared what he knew with an unwavering faith. When others needed to be loved, he loved them. When someone had a need, he and his wife filled it. They were generous with their time, home, and encouragement. And all of this I learned today and this past week, simply from listening to all that the people who knew him had to say about him.
Unfortunately for my husband and I, we met this man and his dear, sweet wife not too long ago, and had not yet been able to spend much time with them. I regret this deeply, knowing that we missed learning from a true servant, and a man who undoubtedly followed God in everything he did. A man who was apparently really funny too. As it turns out, we are certainly learning from him now. We were also talking about how this man did not have to sit around and wonder what God's will was for his life, or who he should be ministering to. He prayed diligently, listened to the Holy Spirit, and believed that those who crossed his path on any given day were the very ones he had been praying for. He always seized the moment to share what they needed. I am thankful that even in his death, today he ministered to me too.
So two thoughts have stayed with me throughout the day. One is, "Am I pursuing God and studying His word in a way that reflects the love and faith I profess for Him?" The other is, "Am I living a life of service without hesitation that is an overflow of the ways God has blessed me and been so graceful in my own life?" If not, I certainly want to start now. I guess the two essentially go hand in hand. If I am walking with, pursuing, and receiving the love of God, I will constantly be in tune with the Holy Spirit and follow as He leads. I will be so bursting with the joy that comes from this kind of faith that I will not be able to contain it. Think about it. Do you really believe in the power of the Holy Spirit? What if you called on Him like you truly did? We must pray believing, expecting great and mighty works, and inviting others to share in this divine, life-changing, and fruit-bearing relationship.
I don't know about you, but at my funeral I want there to be some serious rejoicing. Rejoicing first of all because I am sitting at the feet of the One who created me and loves me more than I can possibly imagine. And secondly because those who will be in attendance will have hopefully experienced the Good News from the overflow of my life...and will be walking on the path leading them to one day stand there too.
"His Master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" Matthew 25:21