Friday, December 29, 2006


Funeral sermon : "The Pattern of Life"

One seldom begins a vacation without carefully plotting his intended course of travel. Unfortunately, too many people do not consider life as an adventure to be carefully mapped out prior to "take-off."
No two people look upon life in exactly the same fashion. Some see it as pessimistically as did Macbeth in William Shakespeare's play by that name when he cried out, "Life ... is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Somewhat less pessimistic, but in much the same vein are the words of the great Seneca, philosopher, dramatist, and statesman of ancient Rome, "Life is neither a good nor an evil; it is simply the place where good and evil exist." A more optimistic concept of life was presented to his pupils in Athens some four hundred and twenty-five years prior to Christ's birth by the great Greek philosopher, Socrates, who taught that "The end of life is to be like God, and the soul following God will be like him."
1. _______________’s Life Contained Opportunities.
A. Opportunities for growth. It is a known fact that when one stops growing in some fashion he has begun to decay. Therefore, during the new year we should seize the opportunity for growth.
1. Mentally. When a Christian has stopped studying and has stopped cultivating his mental capacities, he has begun to atrophy; his God-given mental abilities are "drying up." We are stewards to God for the intellect which we have and are responsible to Him for the cultivation and enlargement of that capacity. In our day we find too many people satisfied with mental mediocrity. As Albert Einstein the late brilliant scholar once remarked about our time in history, "We live in a time of perfect mediocrity and confused ends." As Christians we need to be much aware that, in the words of Richard C. Raines, "It does not take a great mind to be a Christian, but it takes all the mind a man has."
2. Spiritually.. My cousin in her thirties had the mind of an infant." Pitiful? Yes, quite pitiful, but there is something more pitiful than that. That to which I refer is the Christian now old in years since conversion, but still no more spiritually mature than a new-born Christian. Let us determine that during the coming year we shall grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.
B. Opportunities for service.

II. ______________ ‘s Life Contained Tragedies.
As much as we would like to avoid the tragedies or heart- aches which will probably be woven into the pattern of our lives for the coming year, we need to realize that they are the goads which thrust us along in our Christian growth. As Kirby Page has expressed it, "Tragedy crushes and tragedy ennobles, and you had better find out the dif- ference between that which flattens and that which upbuilds." It amkes you either bitter or vbetter.. and you get to decide. Some of the heartaches or tragedies which touched______... and us.. are
A. Loss of business and wealth. To lose all of one's material possessions may be a blessing in a strange disguise. I heard of a man who, some years ago, lost his business, his home and all possessions. For food for his stomach and a place to lay his head he went to the Salvation Army. Of all things for the Salvation Army worker to confront him with in an attempt to meet his needs of the hour was the subject of tithing! Certainly that was hardly appropriate, considering the fact that he didn't have a penny to share with the Lord. He did, however, accept the principle of tithing. Later he migrated to Oklahoma and "made it rich" in the oil business. True to his newfound principle he became a partner with the Lord and found life to be much more meaningful than ever before.
B. Loss of health. Paul's "thorn in the flesh" has been subject to much conjecture on the part of scholars through the years. I agree with those who hold that it was a physical disability. Paul prayed for its removal. Though this request was not answered in the way he desired, Paul received sufficient grace to bear it. He even saw that the Lord could bring glory unto Himself through this infirmity. Paul heard the Master saying,
"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weak- ness" (II Corinthians 12:9a).
C. Loss of loved ones. I recently listened to a man as he stood beside the open grave of his beautiful little daughter and said, "God spoke to me through this experience; now I am going to accept the Lord as my Saviour." Even out of this catastrophe of life God can bring a great blessing.

III.________________-‘s Life Contained Victories.
Knowing Christ

Bringing Up his children

Being a respected man/woman in his church.

Effective life changing service. List of people affected by ______'s life.

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