Jim Richards was graduated to glory last week. He was a long-time Christian brother and faithful servant here at Calvary. In many ways, the occasion is sad, of course. Jim was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, A/V team co-laborer, fire fighter and skilled mechanic. In his family, community and church Jim’s life touched and blessed so many people. It is sad to lose him. That feeling of loss is a true testimony to how much his life mattered.
And, it is a good reminder to us of how much we presently matter to others. Sometimes we lose sight of that in the day-to-day strain. Every single one of our relationships, conversations, and time sacrificed for the good of others – in love – really matters a ton! We have a lot of people in our church doing a lot of ministries – and that is a wonderful thing. I want to encourage you to make the most of each interaction you have with another person. Value highly that God has seen fit to bring your life and their life together. Convey all of Christ that you can in those moments. They are truly precious. Your Christ-like love, even in the smallest things, makes a difference. “Do not grow weary in well doing”1 because it is well worth the effort. Your ministry matters for eternity. People are blessed by it now, and it is something that can never be taken away.2
Aside from being sad, in many more ways Jim’s going to glory is a time to rejoice and bolster our hope. There are so many good things to say about Jim’s present and future in eternity. He is at home with the Lord.3 He sees Jesus’ face.4 His soul is full of joy in God’s presence.5 He’s free of pain, sorrow, burdens, weaknesses, heart aches, body aches, etc. He’s free from sin and temptation completely. His soul is now with the Lord, and one day at Christ’s return, his body will be transformed and raised up out of the ground to meet the Lord in the air.6
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
The realities of our future bodily resurrection are to bring comfort to one another. In fact, in verse 13, these truths are to help Christians grieve with hope. Not to avoid grief, or to minimize grief – some of the godliest saints of Scripture wept bitterly. But Christians must grieve with hope. Our earthly death is temporary – like sleep – and Christ will have the final word! Upon His return death will be swallowed up in victory!
Please be in prayer for Saturday’s memorial service.
Thanks! See you Sunday,