For the past ten years my family and I have worshiped with a small congregation in western Kentucky. Over those years, we have been blessed to meet and come to love many great Christians.
Sadly, though, we have said good-bye to thirteen this year; some lived many years and some were still in their prime. While we are sad to see them leave, we know that we will, one day, be together again.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15, ESV). These precious saints left their mark on this world but instead of focusing on their deaths; I would like to take a moment to remember their lives. I would like to remember them as sons and daughters, husbands and wives, moms and dads, and grandparents. However, most importantly, I would rather remember them as Christians.
Christians who refused to let the troubles of this life determine their destiny. Christians who taught Christ to those they met, whether by words or actions. Christians who weren’t perfect and didn’t convert everyone they met, but stayed faithful until the end, even in the midst of devastating grief, continual trials, and shocking disappointments.
Over the past year, we’ve lost dear ladies who lived Titus 2:3-5. They were reverent in their behavior, refused to belittle others or spread gossip, taught the younger ladies in various ways. They baked meals for the sick, wrote notes of encouragement, and sang, “The Wise Man Built his House upon the Rock” with the children.
The past year we’ve said good-bye to fine men. Faithful men who sought sound doctrine and lived their lives worthy of love and respect. Men who served the Lord by visiting the shut-ins, leading prayers, teaching classes, preaching the Gospel, waiting on the Lord’s table, and serving as elders and deacons.
The deaths of these precious souls may not have made the front page of the local newspaper, but their lives made impacts that will touch generations to come and influence more people than the words of a mere newspaper article ever could. These were great people and they will be sorely missed.
Friends, we have colossal shoes to fill. We must step up and fill the roles left behind by those who have fought the good fight and finished the race (2 Timothy 4:7). We have an obligation to continue the Lord’s work that each of these precious souls began long before us.
Not only do we have a responsibility to fill those shoes, we have a mission to fill the pews. There are too many empty seats where our loved ones once sat and if we take the great commission seriously, we will bring many to Jesus!
There is no better way to honor the lives of those precious saints who have gone on to their reward than to spend our lives reaching the lost and preaching the Gospel. As we think of those who have passed on this year, and in years past, let us desire to continue their good work and let us remember that the greatest generations aren’t the ones who have lived before us, but the ones, in Christ, who have died before us.