I had the privilege of attending a funeral a couple days ago. I say it was a privilege for at least two reasons. Number one: I didn’t have to preach. During most funerals I attend, I find myself standing in front of the family and friends of the deceased, reminding them of the promise of the Gospel. For this one, I was merely a participant in the crowd of worshipers. That alone, was a pleasant change.
More importantly, however, was the second reason I call it a privilege. The person whose life and memory we were celebrating was really one to be admired. Bob is a saint if ever there was one.
I never got to spend much time with him during his days here on this earth. I know other members of his family much more intimately than I knew him. But the few moments here and there which we were together were memorable. They were so because I didn’t have to spend much time with him to realize I was standing in the presence of a godly man.
He Set a High Standard
Bob had one of the sweetest, gentlest spirits I’ve ever encountered in my lifetime. He was one of those guys I would have found it difficult not to like (even if I had wanted to do so). He was warm and engaging, and living up to his legacy will be tough. He set quite a high standard.
One of his daughters once told me about a foray he made into McDonalds. As he was standing in line waiting to order, he struck up a conversation with the strangers behind him. By the time he got to the front to order his fries, he was talking to them about Jesus. That’s the way he lived his life.
Bob always reminded me a lot of the guy who led me to Christ many years ago. They both seemed to be cut out of the same mold. To each of them, Jesus was the ultimate; and introducing people to him was just as important. Guys like them just don’t seem to come around every day.
During the funeral service, one of his granddaughters sang a song entitled “The Promise.” It‘s one of those songs that pierce your heart and land deep into your soul. It captures the understanding that people like Bob have of Jesus. The poignant lyrics convey the promise we all have in Christ.
I never said that I would give you silver or gold
Or that you would never feel the fire or shiver in the cold
But I did say you’d never walk through this world alone
And I did say, don’t make this world your home
I never said that fear wouldn’t find you in the night
Or that loneliness was something you’d never have to fight
But I did say I’d be right there by your side
And I did say I’ll always help you fight
Rest in peace, Saint Bob. Hope to see you soon!
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]