Funeral: critique this message please...

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by rbell, May 26, 2007.

  1. rbell

    rbell
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    OK, so I did a funeral today. I don't do that many (maybe 2 a year), though I don't mind doing them. (pastor's out of the country).

    It was an "easy funeral" (ya'll know what I mean)...an older saint, who had been very sick, but had lived a long life, and had known the Lord for most of it. Her affairs (personal, spiritual, familial) were in order, and she was ready.

    I spoke from a very odd passage: Genesis 25:8...

    The key phrase I expounded upon was "full of years." The Hebrew word (sabea') gives the sense of "completion, utter satisfaction." It carries the idea of a finished work: there's nothing left to do. This phrase is used of Abraham, Job, David, and Isaac. And so, I talked of this woman's life...not just one that was long, but was completely "full."

    I spoke of this woman's life being full from the following perspectives:
    • her days were full because she loved life and enjoyed living;
    • her days were full because she invested in the lives of those she loved;
    • (most importantly) her days were full because her soul was saved and its fate was secure. (of course, I pointed out that if this were lacking, the other points were hollow).
    Other scriptures were used to illustrate the points (especially the final point). Here's my question:

    You ain't gonna hurt my feelings (at least not too much). Did I "stretch" the scriptures on this one? I thought that expounding on the "full of years" idea was faithful to the text, and to Biblical principles. But did I "eisegete" this particular passage? What say you?
     
  2. Scarlett O.

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    I like it. :thumbs:

    In my KJ bible, the words "of years" are in italics. Doesn't that mean that they were added by the translaters?

    And if the Hebrew for "full", as you say, has more to do with completion, then I think you did just fine.

    May we all die that way. Having completed God's earthly tasks for us.

    Amen! :godisgood:
     
  3. Mexdeaf

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    That's pretty good- I'm going to borrow that idea sometime! Thanks for sharing it!
     
  4. Gwyneth

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    We attended a funeral yesterday ........... I wish they had used your words instead of the `silly poem` that was read out, that sort of thing is so common today, and it is a shame. Your sermon sounds ideal in the circumstance, and would have suited the one we attended, the lady was 86 and had been a faithful Christian for all her life.
    Gwyneth
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    I'm a layman who has been asked to preach two funeral messages in my entire life. Sweated bullets over the messages. I have a real apprectiation for our pastors who have to have several different messages. My own pastor is great at it.

    Therefore, rbell, I hereby announce that I'm officially stealing your message, in case I'm called on again.

    I will give you credit, though, as some "anonymous guy on the internet who calls himself rbell." Will that be sufficient to avoid being labeled a plagiarist?

    Seriously, good stuff.
     
  6. annsni

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    I spent 8 hours yesterday and today putting together a PowerPoint presentation for a memorial to those in our congregation who have gone home to be with the Lord and it was very touching to me to think of each of these saints and their lives. There were 3 who were older saints who went home after living a life "full of years" - and I think that would be a PERFECT way to reflect on their lives - and to be able to minister to those who are behind and attending the funeral. I'll be thinking of that passage and your message when I run the presentation tomorrow. I think you did a great job!
     
  7. Amy.G

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    Most excellent, Rbell! :thumbs:
     
  8. blackbird

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    Good one, rbell!!! Last funeral message I preached I used the text from Hebrews 11-----"of whom the world was not worthy"

    No silly poems---just the truth from the Truth in application and reflection of the person's life!!

    I had a Youth Minister at my former church who was in charge of the "Power Point" projector screen----he scribed this line that I'll remember the rest of my life

    "Live your life in such a way that when you die---the preacher won't have to tell a lie at your funeral!!!"
     
  9. rbell

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    Thanks for the input, folks. You all were very gracious.
    As another thread has discussed, I want to avoid "making up truth" when it comes to what happens after death.
    Tom, should you decide to give me credit, I believe the simple, "A wise guy once said..." would be quite appropriate and accurate. (not wise man, mind you...wise guy.) :laugh:
     
  10. convicted1

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    Funeral message

    While I was at church yesterday, there was a preacher who stated that he was at a cemetary one time, when he noticed that the headstones had two dates on it.....birth and death. In between those dates was a "dash". The "dash" was the most important thing. It is what they did in between the two dates that mattered. So rbell, you did a most excellent job preaching that funeral!!:thumbs: :thumbs: A funeral for a believer has to be a lot easier than a funeral for one who left very little hope when they left this low ground of sorrow. But anyways, good job rbell!! A "good dash" is better than a bad one.
     
  11. TomVols

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    I only find this referencing Abraham. Could I see the scriptures where it refers to the others?

    TWOT says that
    NIDOTTE says something similar (just takes more pages) :)

    To say that Abe died full and satisfied (of years is definitely an additioin by the KJV translators) is pretty safe. The application of this is questionable. The word is used of being full, as after a full meal. You want to eat no more. I would not make the exegesis of this say "It carries the idea of a finished work: there's nothing left to do." I would apply it in that way to her specific life situation. Abe's life could've went on, but it was full nevertheless at that time God called him. I have no problem with your application, because at this point application is at the discretion of the preacher.You could've probably used a thousand other things as practical ways in which this saint's life was full. So on the whole, I have no problem with how you interpreted and applied the passage. A general rule of thumb is "the exegesis is the application." Good rule for us all to remember.

    When I preach a funeral, I say precious little about the deceased. They can't hear me, and the ones who can already know. I usually share personal interaction when possible, and if I don't know the departed, I find ancedotes from those close to them. I'll be glad to share stories about this, because I've gotten 2 hours notice about funerals before for people I never met. It happens.

    Anyway, I preach to those who are there. I preach comfort. I preach Christ, the only source of real comfort. And I preach briefly. People remember precious little at a funeral. Your words are at a premium. Make them count.

    Truthfully, I'd rather preach a funeral than do a wedding. You actually get to do ministry at a funeral. I know, I'm odd.

    Good job, RBell. :thumbs: I applaud you for wishing to have your message critiqued and being open to instruction - a rare trait nowadays. Hope my words will be instructive. They will get you a newspaper tomorrow (if you add .50 cents to them) :laugh:
     
  12. Scarlett O.

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    Tom, I did a search on biblegateway.com for "full of years" and "full of days" in reference to someone dying. I searched only the King James.

    Genesis 35:29 (Isaac)
    "And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered to his people, being old and full of days;...."

    1 Chronicles 23:1 (David)
    "So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel."

    1 Chronicles 29:28 (David)
    "And he (David) died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour;...."

    2 Chronicles 24:15 (Jehoiada)
    "But Jehoiada waxed old and was full of days when he died;..."

    Job 42:17 (Job)
    "So Job died, being old and full of days."

    Jeremiah 6:11
    ".....for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days."
     
  13. TomVols

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    Thanks Scarlett. I was just looking for "Full of years."
     
  14. bobbyd

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    Great message! I may have to remember that one myself for the next older saint funeral i have! Good job. :thumbs:
     

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