by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

Joy in the Graveyard (10 of 10)
Come As You Are
Roger Thomas
John 11:1-44
March 25, 2001

A man often walked through a cemetery on his way home. One night, though, unaware that a new grave had been dug in his path, he tumbled in. For some time he struggled to get out of the 7-foot deep grave, but finally gave up and settled down for the night. An hour later, a farmer out possum hunting came walking through the cemetery and he too fell into the grave. He began a desperate attempt to get out, unaware that there was anyone else in the grave. The first man listened to him for a few minutes, then reached over in the pitch darkness and laid a hand on his shoulder. "You can't get out of here," he said... but he did.

And then there was a young business owner who was opening a new branch office. A friend decided to send a floral arrangement for the grand opening. When the friend arrived at the opening, he was appalled to find that his wreath bore the inscription: "Rest in peace." Angry, he complained to the florist. After apologizing, the florist said, "Look at it this way—somewhere a man was buried under a wreath today that said, ‘Good luck in your new location.'" (Bits & Pieces, June 23, 1994, p. 4)

Worse yet is the real letter that came from Health and Human Services to a resident of Greenville County, South Carolina: "Your food stamps will be stopped, effective March 1992, because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you? You may reapply if your circumstances change." (S. Bowen Matthews, Wilmington, Delaware. Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 3. )

There is nothing funny about funerals or cemeteries. Graveyards are places of sorrow, grief, and reminders of death. But yet like it or not, unless Jesus comes first, the graveyard is the destiny of everyone in this room! We devote a lot of energy and resources to postponing it and denying it. But it will come to all. We all share the sentiments of the tombstone that read "I expected ...

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