The Bible makes it clear that we will all come to the end of our lives here on this earth. Hebrews 9:27 says,
"And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment."
The question is, will the life you lived here reach beyond your life? In other words, will, what you have done here on this earth, outlive you and accomplish good in this world after you are gone?
I ask that question to salute and honor someone whose life will reach far beyond her life here, and because of her mission minded spirit, it will actually reach across oceans.
Her name was Shirley Brown.
She was a wonderful Christian woman and a very close friend. I was honored and heartbroken to preach her funeral yesterday and remember this remarkable woman.
Shirley was a dedicated Christian. During my tenure at First Christian Church of Stuart, she took over the Secretary/Treasurer job and because of that, she was frequently at the church building. Over the two and a half years I was employed with FCC, we developed a close friendship .
Toward the end of my stay at FCC, when I announced my intentions to go into the mission field in Saint Lucia, Shirley was immediately supportive in so many different ways. She actually became the mission's greatest cheerleader.
She believed the gospel of Jesus Christ. She also believed the message of Christ needs to be preached to all nations and every creature. She wanted to be a part of sending out that message... and she was. She, as well as many others at FCC, helped me raise support for Mission Saint Lucia. I think Shirley told everyone she knew about the mission. She immediately believed in the mission and encouraged me to go and preach the gospel in Saint Lucia.
A week before Thanksgiving, she learned she had lung cancer. The cancer was fast growing. When she called me and told me about the cancer, I was brokenhearted. I hung up the phone and cried. I immediately began praying that God would help and heal her. He must have been short on angels, because it wasn't to be.
A few days before she passed from this world into the next, I drove down to Stuart to see her. I was only able to stay for a couple of hours and then I had to turn around and return to Carrabelle. During that two hour visit, we hugged, cried, and prayed together. We talked of the mission, and I gave her a hat that I had bought in Saint Lucia on my survey trip back in September. The hat simply had the words, "Saint Lucia" on the front, but I told her I wanted her to have it because she had been so helpful in making this mission come together. I told her I wanted her to get better and be at my Bon Voyage party in May... she could wear the hat as she and others would send me off to Saint Lucia. She said she would try. Four days later, Shirley went home to be with the Lord.
Yesterday, before I left Stuart to return home, Bob Brown, (her husband and also my good friend), told me that the Saint Lucia hat was placed in the casket with Shirley. That made me smile... if I know Shirley, she'll put it on and wear it on Resurrection Day.
Shirley became "Mission Minded" and that is one of the greatest mindsets a Christian can attain to. Actually, to fulfill the meaning of the word, "Christian," you must be "Mission Minded."
Because of her willingness to get involved in missions, Shirley's life will reach beyond her life here. Others will hear the message of Christ because Christianity, to Shirley, was bigger than the local church... it was life... life for the lost of this world.
Be it Mission Saint Lucia or some other worthy mission... make your life reach beyond your life here... Join with a mission and a missionary somewhere in the preaching of the gospel and when your life is over, your life will have reached beyond itself.
See you on the other side Ms. Shirley. I love you and I will miss your sweet voice.