Rev. Huey Wood
Jim and John were brothers. Both were bad, bad men. Jim got sick and died. John went to the preacher and asked him to do the funeral. John knew that the church was trying to build a new annex onto the building and was having trouble raising the money. So John said to the preacher, "If you will make my brother a saint in what you say, I will pay for the whole annex myself.”
The preacher agreed.
At the funeral, the preacher got up and said, "Now all of you folks know that old Jim was as mean as a snake, but he was a saint compared to John."
Oh, isn't it amazing how many folks have come up with their own ideas of what makes a person good and what makes one bad? I have met few people who will confess openly that they are bad. It's always something like this, "Well, I am as good as so and so" or, "I am as good as I want to be" and so on. Less than 15 percent of those in prison admit their guilt.
I am reminded of the story about the little boy whose mother had him all dressed for Sunday school and she said to him, "Now you be good in Sunday School."
"I will for a nickel," the boy said.
"Well, why not be like your dad, good for nothing," the mother replied.
That may not have come out the way she intended, but there is a point there. In the case of this preacher's sermon, what he said had nothing to do with the eternal destiny of Jim. Yes, we have the ability to talk in riddles and what we say sounds good, but what is said doesn't mention a thing about the important part of us that lives forever. It's just words that sound good, like the fellow who died and whose preacher spent 30 minutes talking at his funeral about what a great whistler he was and how he captivated his listeners with his whistling.
The thing that matters at the end of life is — did you trust God? Did you commit your life into His care? How about you?
Prayer: Father, teach us to know ourselves.
©2002 Huey Wood