Death of a Saint

Psalm 116 15 c

Last week we attended one of our church senior’s funeral. No I don’t mean saint in the Roman Catholic sense; I meant one separated from the world and consecrated to God; a believer in Christ in the biblical sense. I enjoyed fellowship with the church’s seniors. However, if you were to ask me who I liked the most, she would be one of them, a godly woman who had been a stalwart prayer warrior for many years.

About 200 family and friends packed into the funeral chapel, rather unusual for someone who was an unknown school teacher, neither rich nor famous, when 50 might be more typical. But she was a gentle teacher with a humble spirit, who always put others’ interests ahead of hers, and who went out of her way to help many around her. In her eulogy her daughter couldn’t remember even once her mother raising her voice when she raised her, “If it’s all the same, why couldn’t you use gentler words so that the one who hears them might not get hurt?” Four nephew and nieces wrote how she was the best aunt they had and how much they loved her

Both grandchildren shared from their heart as they recalled fond memories of how much grandma meant to them. Her grandson choked as he narrated that he and his sister would never become the person they are now, had it not been their grandma praying and caring for them. Her granddaughter remembered how safe she felt as grandma carried her, then an infant, on her back as she worked. Her tribute to grandma was “the world does not make her type of woman any more – gentle, loving, kind, generous, faithful – but Jesus does.” And her granny epitomized that type of Proverbs 31 lady.

Lastly our friend shared about her involvement in our church’s prayer and seniors ministries. Even though she was already in her 80’s, she still attended the weekly prayer meeting, which encouraged many decades her junior. She would also phone up other seniors/widows in church, teaching them to pray and becoming their prayer partner. I myself can attest that every week she would pray for me as her pastor, especially when we went on short-term mission trips, and her prayers would lift us up to the throne of grace.

As she grew frail over the last two years, sometimes she would lament that she is ready to go home to the Lord she loves. “The best thing would be,” she said, “for God to take me home while I sleep.” God remembered His servant’s request, and did receive her unto Himself while she slept peacefully. As I reflected in the funeral service two verses come to mind:
• Ps 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
• Acts 13:36 For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep.

Allow me to adapt Acts 13:36 as “For when Mrs. Ho served God’s purpose in her own generation, she fell asleep.” There is no better way to go than that. Some look for success in life, and they may be successful in their own or the world’s eyes. Others look for significance, which is more noble. But I think what’s most important is that you serve God’s purpose in your own generation. Not everyone is as gifted and talented as David, but they can still serve God’s purpose in his/her generation based on what God had given. I believe Mrs. Ho did that. I hope you and I can do the same.

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