It was mid-December, in the middle of a busy week, when I received a call on this particular Tuesday from a local funeral home. There was a family looking to hold a Christian funeral service for a young man that Saturday and they didn’t have a minister. I told the funeral director that I would speak with my wife and get back to him.
There was one bit of information that caught my attention. This young man was killed. He didn’t die of cancer or of natural causes. He was gunned down. It was all over the news.
To be honest, I have never done a funeral for a younger person, let alone someone who was killed by another individual.
There were so many unknowns that began to flood my mind as I drove home:
- Why was he killed?
- What did he do? Or didn’t do?
- Would there be any risk to me?
- Why do they not have a pastor of their own?
- Why did the funeral director call me?
- Why ME?
All these thoughts flooded my mind at once and I could only imagine what my wife would think.
I got home and spoke to her about this “opportunity” and to my surprise she only asked me one simple question:
What do you feel God wants you to do? Whatever that is, I’ll support it!
At that moment I knew my answer. I called the funeral director and gave him my …YES!
You see, the very fact that my phone rang, and I got the call was all the convincing I needed. Not to mention, this was happening a few days after I had preached a message about being God’s salt and light to the world. I just knew this was my opporunity to put into practice what I had just preached.
We discussed some details for the Saturday and all I knew was that he was a young man in his twenties and that I would not get to see the family until 30 mins before the start of the private funeral service.
My scared feelings actually turned to excitement as I now viewed this as a great opporunity to share the Gospel – the Good News – to a hurting and broken family who likely needed to encounter the love of Jesus.
I began to gather my thoughts over the next 2 days and actually began to ask some people to start praying with me for God to do something special on that Saturday.
And then the phone rang.
It was late Thursday afternoon and just as I was wrapping things up for the day, the phone rang and it was the funeral home. The lady on the other end called with an update: The family actually had a minister in their family who was now going to be taking care of the funeral service. She thanked me for being willing and reassured me that they’d call me for future opportunities (which I’m grateful for).
I hung up the phone and was confused. I felt that God had given me this incredible opporuntiy to bring His hope to a broken family and I was actually excited to do it. But the door closed almost as quickly as it opened.
What I Learned After the Door Closed
As I reflected on the events of that week, two simple thoughts emerged:
- I was now able to be home with my family on Saturday
- Maybe all God wanted to know was: Do I still have your “yes”?
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
And that’s it!
Maybe the whole story I shared about a busy week nearing Christmas, the kind of funeral it would be, the events surrounding the young man’s death, etc… . Maybe God simply wanted to see if I would still say yes to something harder than the norm, even during a busy season at church!
In hindsight, I can’t tell you how glad I am that I said yes. #NoRegrets
If you’re a pastor reading this, or maybe you’re brand new to this life of faith, I believe that one thing we all need to keep doing is saying yes and amen to what God puts in front of you to do — whether you end up doing it or not is inconsequential.
- In view of my story, do you feel like God has your “yes” no matter what?
- What has God put in front of you to do?
- What is keeping you from doing it?