Reading: Psalm 116
Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his faithful servants.
Truly I am your servant, LORD;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.
I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the LORD.
I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the LORD—
in your midst, Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD (NIV).*
Funerals are fascinating occasions for a whole variety of reasons. Before the pandemic, I have had an opportunity to attend a number of these end-of-life events. There is something bittersweet about most funerals—bitter due to the loss of a loved one—sweet because often fond memories are recalled.
The end of a life here on earth gives us an opportunity to reflect on the values that the deceased portrayed, and by extension it allows us to examine the values and qualities that shape our own lives. Our lives paint a portrait. What sort of portrait will it be?
Apparently, the LORD takes note when one of His own passes on from this life. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants. Truly I am your servant, LORD; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains.
The word servant is significant in the passage above. It is repeated twice along with its verb form serve. Now here is a question for you. Who are you serving? Are you a servant of the LORD or are you serving only yourself?
Those who serve only themselves should expect few at their bedside as they draw their last breath. All too often their last days are spent in loneliness and bitter resentment—not so for those who spent their lives in the service of others and the LORD. Prior to this pandemic, they could expect to be surrounded by family and friends because they have poured out their lives in service. We reap what we sow, and when the Grim Reaper comes, those who have sown generously will be rewarded generously. God, Himself will be present!
Now we should note that genuine service to others is service to the Lord. In essence, Jesus said just that when in his parable of the final judgment he declared, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
Response: LORD, I want to serve you. Today please show me how I can be the best possible servant to you and those around me. Open my eyes to the needs of others. I want to serve with a heart filled with gratitude and joy. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you living a life of service? What does serving God mean for you?