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24 January 2009

Simplicity

It's been a really busy week. I have several new posts started but haven't had time to complete any of them. Apologies that you're probably all suffering withdrawals.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a friend's mother, and I had a couple of experiences that I want to share with you. This post is one of them. Not really an experience, but a story.

The funeral was in the neighboring city of Scottsboro, AL; smaller than Huntsville; more rustic and far less frenzied. Upon arriving at the sanctuary for the service, I was taken in by how refreshingly non-modern the sanctuary was. It was beautiful. Very small by most standards (this and the large crowd meant there was standing room only), and I smiled at the pastor's opening words, welcoming everyone to their "family of faith" (not their church).

As the service went on, the pastor read several memoirs about my friend's mother, a Christ-follower who was so obviously loved dearly by everyone who knew her. One of the stories he recalled was her purchase of a sweater at an extremely well-known local store, Unclaimed Baggage (if you've never been and you have a few extra bucks, you can sometimes strike gold in there).

I pieced together the story as he summarized it rather quickly. Upon getting the sweater home, this dear lady apparently discovered $2,000 in a pocket of the sweater. Two thousand dollars. The pastor wondered about the impact it had on the people at Unclaimed Baggage when she returned the money to them.

I wanted to spontaneously cheer for her. How many people would do that these days? (Hopefully more than I think.) I'd just been talking with a friend Wednesday night about the fact that we (okay, I) tend to over-intellectualize things when the truth is often simple and plain.

This lady's reaction is probably not what many people would call smart, but from what I know of Jesus and everything He taught, it's the exact same thing He would have done. No rationalizing, no saying, "I bought the sweater fair and square and they shouldn't have left anything in it." Pure and simple honesty and integrity. I believe that we in the American Church often adjust our level of rationalization to match our desired standard of living, rather than adjusting our standards to meet those of a Holy God.

What this lady did was beautiful, and I hope that when I'm gone I'll have left something behind that speaks of Jesus Christ as much as her actions did. What's your goal in that area? "When I'm gone, I hope that..."?

2 comments:

Leroy said...

I like to hear examples like you've given us Dean. I’ve thought about this subject for years. Not that I’m “old” (38 to be exact). And I want my eulogy to honestly say this...

Today we celebrate Lee’s life. Lee was a devoted husband, devoted father, devoted son, devoted brother, devoted uncle, and a devoted friend. But above all, he was a devoted Christian that exemplified what it means to live like Christ.

Then have someone give a quick salvation “message”; sing two songs (Amazing Grace and I Can Only Imagine); and finally go have a party, hamburgers and hotdogs for all! Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Well, I've thought about what I want my life to be lately, as well. Not necessarily my eulogy, but what I want to be in Christ. So, when I'm gone, I'd like: "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." Proverbs 31:28.

Julie

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