Pastor Mitch McDonald, Sun Lakes Community Church
In 1981 I began my journey of ministry not necessarily knowing what or where that would lead me but knowing that God had a very specific call on my heart and life to serve others with His love, grace, and mercy. During those 41 years, I have learned that there are certain things that pastors do. One, we preach. Two, we visit and minister to people in their times of distress or joy. We perform weddings. We celebrate births. And, yes, we do funerals, which may be the most personal ministry that pastors perform.
Today I sit in my office preparing to do just that. One of my dear friends, a brother in Christ, went home to be with His Savior last week. He lived a long and rich life as a successful businessman, gifted artist, devoted husband, and an amazing encourager. I asked his wife if I could use his Bible to prepare for his Going Home Celebration. Richard was not one who underlined, highlighted, or wrote in the margins of his Bible. While it was read daily, it was fairly unmarked except for a single sheet of paper four and a half inches long and three and a half inches wide. And on that single note, Richard had unknowingly outlined my message for his Celebration.
Richard knew that, number one, he was forgiven. On that note he wrote down “Romans 8:1,” which says there is no condemnation for those who have a relationship with Christ Jesus, a personal, real relationship. Second, he knew he was a son of God. He had written down “Romans 8:14-15,” which says that those who believe in Christ have been adopted by God who loves and cares for them. And, finally, Richard also knew that he wasn’t just a son, but an heir. Romans 8:17 reminded him of this truth. Richard knew that being an heir means that we receive grace. All of God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.
So, what about you? What are your anchor points today? They tell us that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. If you live long enough, you get out of taxes but, thus far, no one has forever cheated death. But don’t let death cheat you. Yes, my friend Richard lived a full and meaningful life, blessing many people along the way, but he also knew that while he was frail, fractured, and flawed, he was forever forgiven. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16