Have you ever noticed the support of the law enforcement community at the death of an officer? There is an extensive protocol intended to provide comfort, make a statement that this life was well lived and to give direction to everyone involved. In short many police departments join together to assist and obtain the resources needed to ensure the appropriate funeral is conducted. The purpose of this article is to draw attention to the support offered by police officer associations that often didn’t even know the police officer and the support that is not often offered the families of a faithful pastor. The police officer gives his life to serve the community, a pastor will sacrifice his life to save souls and equip believers. I ask the question: Should we not honor the memory of a pastor and support his family any less than a police officer?
During the past few months I have participated in funeral services of two pastors and a pastor’s wife. All three were African-American ministers. The one thing I immediately noticed was the unwavering support of fellow African-American pastors regardless of affiliation and the protocol that focused on the ministry of the person who died whereby God got the glory. All three of these services were serious but were they ever celebrative! I was also impressed by the fact that the church building was packed with pastors and ministers even though the services were conducted at not so convenient times. It was evident that those pastors and ministers cleared their schedule to participate or attend the service. Do these pastors recognize something most of us miss? Do they see the value of offering support so God can accomplish His purpose? Do they recognize what God can do when they give of themselves to be an encouragement to the family and community? It would seem so.
The purpose of a Christian funeral service is four-fold:
- It is intended to celebrate what God has accomplished in a person’s life – whereby God gets the glory.
- It gives great opportunity for the witness of the Gospel and reminds us of the hope within us.
- It acknowledges the close of a person’s life and ministry/service to the LORD.
- It begins to release us to go on with life, to complete what the LORD has begun in the person who is now with our LORD. It brings closure for those who loved the person. It permits tears and expressions of joy and love that words cannot describe.
In summary, of all the important things we are called to do in the ministry I call on you to rearrange your schedule to honor God’s fellow pastor and ministers who have given their life to proclaim the Gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ and equip the saints. It appears to me it is the least we can do.