Our church recently experienced the loss of a dear sister, Cyndee Luque, to cancer. At her funeral ceremony, there were over 500 people in attendance to pay respects to their respective friend, spouse, mother, daughter, co-worker, cousin, sister, and ministry partner.
What a beautiful picture of a person who lived their life with conviction and devotion to Christ and how extensive her reach was with the love of God. The troubling part is: how do we, as creatures with an immortal soul, deal with a mortal situation like death? After all, as Christians we know where Cyndee is today, but how does her close family and friends keep a realistic perspective in this time of tragedy?
The Apostle Paul had one of the best perspectives on life and death as a fully-devoted follower of Jesus when he wrote in Philippians 1:20-26:
“20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” (NIV)
What a perspective! If we, as believers, could grasp the concept that to take advantage of the countless opportunities to be the light in a dark world is only to further the work for Christ, yet the worst thing that could ever happen is we would die and be with our Lord, how much more would we look at life in a whole new light?
Our guys Bible study that I am a part of has been going through the book of Acts for a couple of months now. It’s amazing to see courage and determination of the early church members to reach out to their communities and those around them, through the power and work of the Holy Spirit. This is the same Spirit that guided Cyndee to have the incredible impact she did on those around her. She had the eternal perspective that life is too short to waste so do everything possible to love those around her.
St. Francis of Assisi once wrote:
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel and when necessary, use words.”
This isn’t a cop-out to standing up for one’s faith, but certainly it means that we can be a witness and a testimony to those around us simply by the way we live.
So how do we deal with the reality of an immortal soul in a mortal world? Keep our focus on Jesus…the author and perfecter of our faith; and look for opportunities to be the “light of the world” and the “salt of the earth” to those around us. After all, we never know if will be us who worships in the church auditorium one Sunday and worships in God’s holy sanctuary the next.
“Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.” – Psalm 96:9 (NIV)