How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. | Psalm 84:1-2
I really dislike going to funerals. I try to avoid them if I can because I can’t not ugly-cry. I don’t even have to know the deceased – tears (and snot) will flow freely, regardless. Nathan, on the other hand, loves funerals. Not in a creepy way, but simply that he enjoys hearing about people’s lives and the legacy they’ve left behind.
There’s a funeral home near our apartment and sometimes when we drive by, we talk about death, what we’d like at our funerals, or how we’d like to remember each other. I know it sounds morbid, but it’s really not. We both know that death is inevitable and that more likely than not, one of us will outlive the other by some period of time. I’ve jokingly called dibs on dying first but I’m not so foolish to think that doing so has any power. If the Lord wants to take Nathan home before me, He will – and that’s okay.
In today’s world, people are so focused on “living their best lives” and making “YOLO” their life mantra. Death, dying, and suffering are some of society’s greatest fears. Many are paralyzed by the thought of dying. Others are fixed on finding a cure for death or a path to immortality.
But death doesn’t have to be a scary topic. For those who have placed their faith in Jesus, death is a joyous occasion and something eagerly anticipated. Why? Because it means we get to be reunited with Jesus for the rest of eternity.
It means the permanent end of suffering
and the start of something more beautiful
than anything we could ever imagine.
A few weeks ago, we remembered the life and testimony of someone who truly understood this concept and lived it out joyfully. Rosemary Lee Carrera was a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and fellow Jesus-lover who eagerly awaited this reunion with her Savior. She did so courageously, patiently, joyfully, intentionally. Even the pains of cancer could not steal her joy, which was so firmly rooted in Christ. As much as I dislike going to funerals, I was thankful for the opportunity to hear about her life of faith and her labor of love for the Lord.
I have never seen so many people at our church before – there was barely room to stand. Rose had touched so many lives in so many ways. Most importantly, she had an eternal impact on every soul she came into contact with. Over and over, we heard how she gave of herself for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She opened her home, gave her time, spent her energy, and consistently poured into the lives of others.
In remembering Rose’s life and trying to figure out what made her so different, so influential for the Kingdom of God, I recognized a common thread in each memory that was shared.
She was a giver.
A no-strings-attached, genuine, others-focused giver of all that she had and all that she was. It wasn’t that she herself possessed so much, but that she recognized the deep, deep well of Christ’s power and blessing. She tapped into that bottomless well and gave to others glass after glass, taste after taste, of God’s sweet goodness.
What about us?
Do we tap into that bottomless well that is
Christ and give as we received?
Or do we get so caught up in how
to get the most out of our lives
that we forget to consider how to give
the most with our lives?
Rose recognized the value of a giving heart. Just as Christ gave Himself for her, Rose gave herself for others. And thus doing, Rose had an eternal impact on countless souls.
Though the warmth of her love, her encouraging letters, her wise words, her joyful singing, and her intentional conversations will be missed, we praise God for the time we had with her.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. | Psalm 116:15
May we learn from the godly examples God has blessed us with. May we seek to give the most with our lives, for the glory of Christ and for the sake of His Kingdom.
May we have an eternal impact on each soul we come into contact with. May we wait expectantly and joyfully on Him and in doing so,