With the short time that we have on this earth, we should always be quick
to mend fences with our loved ones with whom we’ve disagreed in the past.
We must do all that we can to show our care and love so that there will be
no doubt in their minds concerning how we feel about them. The Bible tells
us in Romans 12:10 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly
love; in honour preferring one another.” We must be quick to both forgive
and ask for forgiveness. The Lord Jesus calls us the light of the world.
We are commanded to go forth with our lives as a shining beacon of hope
encouraging, blessing, ministering and showing the love of God through our
earthen vessels. Be encouraged to take the initiative to reach out to
those with whom you've lost contact. Allow the Lord to work through you
to show that forgiveness is possible when one simply reaches out for it.
I hope this message inspires and challenges your heart to always be the
bigger person and have a forgiving heart no matter the offense. The Lord
Jesus told Peter that we should forgive a person's offense four hundred
and ninety times a day. (Matthew 18:21-22)
EXCEPT FOR SIX STRANGERS
It was extremely hot and humid. Any movement at all caused perspiration
to form on my brow eventually running like a fresh rain down my face.
I had arrived early and was standing in the parking lot.
After a few minutes I wandered inside to find a place out of the sun and
hopefully into the cool air being generated by the small window air
conditioner facing the lot.
I was out of the sun, but far from cool.
The only other time I was ever in a funeral home by myself was when my
Grandpa died. The director let me arrive early so I could spend some
private time with him.
I loved my Gramps so much.
This time, however, I didn't even know the man and I was about to
participate in his funeral.
A man walked in and thanked me for being there. “We have him ready. There
will be no viewing, of course. We will hold a simple ceremony at the grave
site,” he said.
When the others arrived, we all followed the hearse a few miles down the
road to the cemetery. Upon entering, the driver slowed down for a moment
just outside the chapel.
“Good, at least he will have a church service,” I thought to myself.
Suddenly the cars in front of me began to move.
Following them down a winding road we made a sharp turn and pulled up along
The hearse drove right up to the open grave and backed up to it.
I got out of the car and back into the sweltering heat. The grass crunched
below my feet as dust flew up in the air with each step.
The back door opened and inside was the simple wooden casket of.
“Can I help you with that?” I asked.
“If you'd like to. There's no handles on it so you have to grab it from
the bottom,” he said.
With little effort, four of us lifted and placed the man over his final
Including the funeral director, there were six of us in attendance.
The chaplain began his brief service and I began to disconnect. I mean, I
couldn't believe this. All the thoughts of how sad this was. All the
images of no one being there for him and no one caring trashed my brain.
“And so we commit our friend...” the chaplain went on.
And then it was over.
“May I ask,” the director said. “Did any of you know him? I mean, would
you know him by sight?”
One of the nurses replied, “Yes.”
“Would you please take a moment to identify him?” he asked.
He was about to open the casket.
We all stood there nervously anxious and uneasy. I've certainly seen
enough dead people in my life, but this seemed odd to me. Right there in
the cemetery...he opened the casket.
The man was in a nice dress shirt and without any fancy linen, silk or even
cotton lining in the box, he was leaning toward us.
“This would be the very last time that the sun would shine on him,” I
thought to myself. Then the lid was closed.
For 57 years my life zig zagged in a thousand directions. For 70 plus
years his did, too. On this day, in early August 2007, our lives crossed.
I didn't know him and he didn't know me. I never had the honor of speaking
with him nor did I ever hear a word about him before this very day.
He had loved, laughed and lived well over 25,550 days. In doing so he
touched thousands of lives and still, on the very last day none of those
people were there.
That is except for six strangers.
I have since learned that he did indeed have family. But none of them
spoke to each other for more than a third of his life.
Are you saddened by this?
Is there someone you need to call right now? Someone you haven't spoken
to for many years? Someone who would love to know you cared enough to
forgive, ask for forgiveness, forget, move on, begin again, start over,
Imagine being that man who had no one, “That is except for six strangers.”
By Bob Perks
Read and meditate on these scriptures:
1 John 1:8-10 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and
the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say
that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
Psalm 51:1-3 “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my
transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from
my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”
1 Thessalonians 5:15 “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but
ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your
heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Colossians 3:12-15 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved
bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a
quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above
all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let
the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in
one body; and be ye thankful.”
All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.
Today's Selected Poem: START OVER...
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/inpoem96.htm
Today's Selected Testimony: A PRISONER FREED AT LAST
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony87.htm
In Christ’s Service,
God’s Work Ministry