I asked the family if I could lead this graveside service to honor my Dad. I also asked my Mom if I could use this Bible that belonged to my Dad.
I had not looked through this Bible until this morning as we prepared to leave for the funeral service. Inside I learned that this Bible is slightly older than I am. My Mom gave it to my dad on February 27, 1951, his birthday, a few months before I was born. My mom was pregnant with me and probably looked about like my niece Brittany looks this morning.
I also learned something else from my Dad’s Bible this morning. On a blank page in the beginning my Dad had written The Plan of Salvation and key verses.
The Plan of Salvation
- John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [ESV]
- Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God [ESV]
- Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [ESV]
- Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [ESV]
- John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [ESV]
Although he rarely spoke evangelistically, my Dad wanted to be ready to share the good news.
My Dad bought these grave plots when he was 25 or 30 years old. But I think he bought them not really expecting to use them. Early one morning many years ago as he and I were out on the deer lease, I shared with my Dad that I wondered if our young daughter Jennifer would grow to adulthood before Jesus came back. My Dad surprised me by saying he felt the same way when I was young. He said he had expected Jesus to return before I reached adulthood.
My Dad made preparations in case he needed this plot of ground, but he lived as if he would never need this plot. He was always ready to meet Jesus.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-28, Paul writes:
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
One morning, Daddy’s body will rise from this grave and be rejoined with his soul. One morning, Jesus will appear in that eastern sky to gather us together. My Dad was expecting that in his lifetime. So am I. Paul wrote this down so that we could comfort and encourage one another with these words.
So we commit my Dad’s body to this plot of earth to await the time Jesus will call it out of this grave. My Dad is already enjoying heaven. This body will be raised and transformed one day.
Frank White says
Well said, Keith. And as you said, a life well lived. He reminds me of my dad–scoutmaster and loving God. Truly, they’re from a great generation–a generation that built character. I’m sorry that I never met your dad, but I look forward to doing so one day!