Friday, October 24, 2008

In Memory

Today we attended the funeral of my husband's aunt Muriel. It was a sombre affair. We do not believe she had put her trust in Jesus and there was no sign that any of her family believed. The minister who conducted the service at the crematorium clearly did not know the family and twice referred to the deceased as Beryl.

A Quiet Passing
One nephew read a popular but distinctly un-Christian poem, while another talked briefly about the highlights of Muriel's life, one of which was a "gorilla-gram" on her 60th birthday. The congregation sang, rather weakly, two well known hymns and the prayers were formal, straight from the service book.

All in all it seemed rather a pathetic end to a life. No doubt Muriel brought joy to many people and enriched the lives of her family and friends. But today, for the minister and the organist, she was just another old lady to be dispatched. As far as I could see, neither of them were thanked for their services.

In Contrast
Gayle Williams, on the other hand, has had her name and face splashed across the media. She is the Christian charity worker murdered in Afghanistan this week. She died serving the Lord, but if she hadn't been killed in such a fashion I doubt any of us would have heard of her.

Does It Matter?
The truth is that most of us live entirely ordinary humdrum lives and even the few remarkable things we may be able to achieve will not come to the notice of the world. So does it matter how we live and how we die? Does it matter how many people know our name?

God said to His chosen people, "fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine," (Is 43:1). It doesn't matter who knows our name or what we've achieved. What is important is that God knows. Countless Christian martyrs have died without recognition from the world. But every single one of them is recognised by God. Many times more have lived simple faithful lives without being called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. But the Lord has seen them set their alarm clocks to wake early in order to give Him the first part of the day. He has seen them on their knees as they plead with Him for the needs of others. He has seen their sacrificial giving of their money, their time and their very selves. He has seen them stand firm against temptation when no-one else was watching. He has seen their worship and adoration.

Such people may pass quietly and unremarked from this world, but they will enter the next with a fanfare and a party. They will be welcomed home by their Heavenly Father as conquering heroes and there will be no question of their names being forgotten for they are written in the Lamb's book of life and graven into His palms.

Prayer College Assignment
Who are you seeking recognition from? We're all tempted at times to be more concerned about the impression we make on others than what the Lord thinks of us. But in reality, He is the only one who matters and we matter more to Him than to anyone else. He never gets a name wrong. However mundane you think your life is, determine to live it for Jesus and no-one else.

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