October 5, 2009
. . . and the day of death (is better) than the day of birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1b
NOTE: PASTOR KLAUS IS ON JURY DUTY THIS WEEK, SO THESE DEVOTIONS WERE WRITTEN BEFORE HIS TIME OF SERVICE. PLEASE EXCUSE THE FACT THAT THEY MAY NOT BE BASED ON CURRENT OR NEWSWORTHY EVENTS.
Annie Hopkins' wedding reception was two days ago.
It was quite an event. Present were hundreds of friends and a jazz trio for music. The dinner offering for guests was a choice of steak, chicken, or a vegetarian plate. And, of course, there was an open bar.
There was only one problem with Annie Hopkins' wedding reception. Annie wasn't there.
Actually, it was impossible for Annie to be present.
Annie Hopkins died January 20th from complications arising from a treatment of her illness: spinal muscular atrophy.
Even so, Annie had a wedding reception.
Why? The truth is this: Annie preferred wedding receptions to funeral dinners. That's why her brother (who also has spinal muscular atrophy) and her friends threw a reception in her honor.
Any profits from the bash were going to Annie's scholarship fund.
Although I don't know Annie's theology, I do know her philosophy is pretty close to that of God's saved people. The author of Ecclesiastes swam against popular unbeliever opinion when he wrote that the day of death is better than the day of birth.
The early Church believed that, too.
Anyone who compares the inscriptions on the tombs of Christians with those of unbelievers must be overwhelmed by the differences between the two groups.
The tombs of Jesus' blood-bought brothers and sisters speak of hope, of life, of joy, and peace unending. And what of the tombs of the unbelievers? Those tombs mourn for the deceased as if they had no hope.
This is why we need to regularly give thanks for God's perfect Son who gave His life so we might be forgiven. It is right for us to praise Him who was sacrificed so we might be comforted when death comes calling.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus for having given Your life so our lives might be eternally and completely changed, I give thanks. Now I ask that the Holy Spirit touch the rest of humanity so they too may know, in Jesus, the day of death has been made better than the day of birth. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries