There is a time to be born and a time to die
We are working through the book of Ecclesiastes in our Sunday morning worship services. Yesterday the focus was on Ecclesiastes chapter three. The people of my generation recognize some of the words of this book because of a song by the Byrd’s. Turn, Turn, Turn.
It is too bad that the lyrics of the song miss the section immediately after the “a time to” poetry. The time to be born and the time to die are just a very tiny sliver of the total time every soul lives (or dies) after death.
Just a couple of months ago Cindie and I lost a dear friend and member of our local church. Jeff Hardel was a man who made a difference in the lives of so many people. Now, sadly, we lost another dear friend and brother in Christ. Roger Meyer went home to be with the Lord last week. The funeral service will be tomorrow at Roger’s church, Memorial Baptist Church in Verona, Wisconsin.
As I said when I posted his obituary on my Facebook page, I remembered “how many people smiled when Roger was in their vicinity. He was loving, kind, funny, hard-working and a good friend. One of the last conversations I had with Roger, I told him that I appreciated his friendship. It was one of the few times where he didn’t say something funny in return. He seemed genuinely touched by my comment.” Many miss him, including me. He was a good friend.
Roger Was Joyful and Approachable
When some people get into their seventies and beyond, they get grumpy. They withdraw from others. You can often identify the grumpy people by the reactions of children. I’ve seen children avoid some old people because they are always stern faced, scowling, and even complaining about the noisy children. They complain to the pastors and to the parents. They are like big magnets that push people away.
Some seniors, however, are like big magnets that pull you in. Yes, Roger, was a big man, but he wasn’t a grumpy and unapproachable man. I know our grandchildren enjoyed being near and with Roger. But they weren’t the only ones. Many children and teens were very close to Roger and loved him.
Roger was a Servant
When we get old, we have more aches and pains. Sometimes we can no longer do the things we used to do. But some don’t let the pains and limitations stop them from serving. Roger could be counted in that number. He served faithfully in the youth program called AWANA. He had faithfully served as a deacon. He helped with preparing and serving Communion. He was a faithful participant in the Missions Committee of the church. He brought me firewood when he learned that our supply was running low. Age and pain did not define Roger. He finished his race well.
Roger Loved Others
There were times when Roger would come to me and ask how he could help someone with a gift. He did not want them to know he was the source of the gift, so he would pass the money to me to pass on to the person in need. Roger wasn’t the kind of guy who, when hearing about a need, would say, “I hope someone does something about that.” Roger was the someone who did something.
Roger Was Joyful, Did Good, and Took Pleasure in God’s Gifts
His laugh was fun. His teasing was done in fun. He and I would often poke fun back-and-forth. He enjoyed ice cream. He often brought cheese and snacks to meetings at church. He enjoyed going on cruises with his wife and many different friends. His Facebook posts are full of pictures that include family, friends, and fun. In fact, Roger understood and lived this part of Ecclesiastes chapter 13: “I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.”
Roger Has a Permanent Perfect HOME
We certainly miss Roger, and we are sad that his smile is gone from this earth. However, our hearts are not troubled. Roger knew the way, the truth, and the life. In other words, Roger both believed and lived the Gospel. The Apostle John recorded two wonderful promises of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus promised a place for those who believed in him. But it is even better than that. It is the place Jesus is. Roger got his perfect and permanent home with his perfect and permanent Savior.
“’Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’” John 14:1-7
Roger has seen him.
Roger Lee Meyer Obituary LINK
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 English Standard Version
When reading this, don’t stop at the “a time to” conclusion. Read on to the end.
A Time for Everything
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.”
Do you have eternity in your heart? You do if you are following the one who said he was the way, the truth, and the life. The life Roger lived still speaks. Are you listening?