Monday, June 25, 2018

Send Me No Flowers

A friend of mine passed away last week. I thought of him when I saw the above photo on Facebook – a teacher’s request that no flowers be sent, but backpacks with school supplies for needy children be considered. Obviously, her request was more than considered, because additional photos on line showed people carrying additional bags into the church.

“Send Me No Flowers” is more than a 1964 Doris Day movie – it’s a suggestion I’d like to be remembered when it becomes my turn to be remembered.  No – I do not want florists to be put out of business.  Send flowers every opportunity we have to people we want to honor – for their friendship, fellowship, hard work, caring attitude – any number of reasons. But not for my funeral, please. I’m not there and won’t notice them at all.

If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (John 14:28b)

Yep – that’s what I’d like – a time for rejoicing. But – there is one gift I wish from those remembering my life:  pray for a missionary and spread the gospel.

1)  Pick a missionary. If you and I are friends on Facebook, you are familiar with some of the missionaries I follow there. It’s an easy way to keep up with their needs and provide them proof of prayer support. Perhaps your church provides support for a specific missionary – that would be a good choice, too. If you can’t think of one, contact the First Baptist Church of Cottondale, Texas. They have an active list of supported missionaries who appreciate prayer support.

2) Pray for that missionary – and those who will hear the gospel through that missionaries service to our Lord. They have the same needs as we do – shelter, sustenance, spiritual support – plus working in environments where they are often unwanted. Yes, we have that, too, so pray for your friends who are sharing the gospel message to hearts that are closed to God’s work. Pray they be softened.

3) Explain what you are doing to someone close to you. That’s witnessing. Yes, it is telling others that there are people who believe that God exists. That He has a purpose. That His purpose includes people. That He was messages across all time to all people. Missionaries are called to give that message – but so are all Christians:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Two verses above this, we are told that “some doubted.” Some still do, and others have totally rejected the good news that God is real. The ones who cannot believe:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)

My friend who recently passed requested his name be added to prayer lists. It was, by several people. He did so, saying specifically “I’m a believer.” He knew his life was in God’s hands and was prepared for the future God promised.

Send me no flowers, but tell everyone that I’m a believer in God, His grace, His mercy, His son – and His instructions to teach others. Let’s get that started today. Right now. Not waiting for such a time as flowers may be considered.

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