Arrangements Pending by Rick White

Arrangements Pending
Rick White
John 11:11-45

Introduction: Just a few weeks ago I preached the funeral service for th4e oldest member of our church, Mr. E. B. Sellers, 100 years and eight months old. While standing at his graveside, Mr. Clyde Stephens of Williamson Memorial Garden, pulled a piece of paper from his pocket to show to me.

It was an obituary notice from the Nashville Banner. The headline named a prominent Williamson County attorney who had died, and declared Funeral Arrangements Pending.

The two column article shared many of the accomplishments of this brilliant attorney. It noted his educational background, military service, community service, membership in service organizations, and listed his surviving family members. The obituary closed by informing friends where to direct memorial contributions.

It was indeed a fitting tribute to a prominent community leader. There was only one thing wrong. He was not dead. (And to my knowledge he is still alive today). Somehow, some way, the Nashville Banner had received erroneous information. I know this proved to be very embarrassing for the paper and very painful for family members.

As I have thought about this episode over the past four weeks two thoughts immediately came to mind. (1) the statement of Mark Twain that the news of his death was greatly exaggerated, (2) the reality and truth of that obituary notice. In reality, all our funeral arrangements are pending.

There is a Biblical passage that deals with this very subject in the life of Jesus.

Listen carefully to the following account:

John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 The sisters therefore sent to Him, saying, ''Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.'' ''Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sl ...


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