Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Lesson Learned from my Brother in Law

Several months ago, a neighbor to my Sister and Brother in Law was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  His health deteriorated quickly and he began to make arrangements.  In the process of planning, the family decided that they wanted Rick, my Brother in Law, who is not a pastor, to preach the funeral. This would be his first to lead and be in charge of. (He had shared in a loved one's service years ago in Kentucky.) In the weeks prior, Rick talked to his neighbor about his faith, planned, then presided over a sweet spirited service for a grieving family.  I think Rick and Sheila's  presence brought comfort to the family, just knowing they were walking with them on the journey. 

Watching them minister to this family as they prepared themselves for the loss of a husband and dad once again taught me several important lessons.

1. Time is too short not to get to know your neighbors.
Four years prior to the death a new family moved next door.  A bridge was built that allowed these friends to trust their neighbors, Christian neighbors. We do seem to be living in a day where people work hard, pull in to their driveway and then hit the garage door opener. As soon as the car is turned off the door is down until for many, Monday morning.We act like we want solitude, yet look at how many people are on a phone.  We also seem to want to be connected.

2. You never know the impact you are making.
We have to redeem the time now.  One wrote, "Blessed is the man who plants a tree knowing he may never sit in it's shade."  Only eternity will reveal how God has used you for His Glory. Don't underestimate the power of God and His outstretched hand.

3. God uses humble people.  The Church opened their doors to meet the needs of the family. I could tell Rick was nervous, (he later shared that he flipped over a whole page of notes without realizing it) he chose his words carefully, inserted appropriate personal humor that helped the family smile through their tears. I could tell he had put a lot of time in prayer and preparation for the service.  I did not know the family, but walked away feeling I had known their loved one.  May we never get to big, or too professional to think we can just step in to a ministry need and do it ourselves.  We need the power of God to take the weak and use for his Glory. 

Let us always be learners in this journey called life.  Thanks Rick.