Whether I Live Or Whether I Die, I Belong To The Lord

Photo by: www.serenityrichard.com

The following is posted with family permission.  May the Lord give to the family of Lou Haussler and to all who mourn, comfort in their grief and a sure confidence in the Lord's loving care.  

Prayer Service Homily Text:  Romans 14:7-9

To Him who loves us and has washed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

Too often pastors will stand before people at funerals and attempt to convince everyone how good and whole and righteous a recently deceased person was. 

It goes like this:  a person dies; people gather at funerals; a question comes to their minds: 

Is the deceased ‘in or out?’  Did he make it pass the pearly gates?  Was he admitted to the heavenly banquet? 

And so the pastor will incorrectly attempt to resolve this unsettling question, usually by laying out a long description of the person’s moral achievements and righteous qualities while alive, so as to convince everyone that the recently deceased made it into the blissfulness of heaven.  If the pastor is skilled enough, he may be able to convince some that the deceased person arrived on the other side of the pearly gates and the pastor may be able to at least quiet the haunting fears of whether or not the recently deceased is in or out. 

Tonight though, I will not stand before you and try to convince you about Lou.  I will not lay forth a case on whether or not Lou made it.  But rather, I will announce to you that Lou undoubtedly ‘did’ make.  In fact, two weeks ago Lou even said that he would make.  He said, “There is a heaven—there is a life after this—and that’s where I’m going, that’s where I will be!” 

Now, how could I and Lou be so certain of this?  Was Lou banking on all of his kindness, modesty, generosity, work ethic, and loyalty that he had accumulated over the past 89 years?  Was he confident that he had enough chips to cash in in order to make it? 

This is an interesting and plausible theory.  The only problem is that Lou confessed with me and with all of you at our Sunday Services that he was a poor-miserable-damn-sinner that had offended the Lord God in thought, word, and deed.   Otherwise stated, in-with-under-and-in between the generosity, modesty, kindness, and loyalty shown in Lou, was a sinner through and through—a sinner just like me and just like you.  

This creates a bit of a conundrum.  The problem is now this: how can one be so certain of everlasting life in the midst of being a sinner?   That is to say, when you and I confess that we are sinners in thought, word, and deed, can we ever be sure, that we are fit for the kingdom of God? 

The answer is yes.

Lou was certainly confident of eternal life.  And you can be to.  You see, in the words of the Apostle Paul, Lou stated one afternoon, “If I live, I live to the Lord, and if I die, I die to the Lord.  So whether I live or whether I die, I am the Lord’s.”

Did you hear that?  If one lives or if one dies, it really doesn’t matter either way.  In other words, you and I and Lou do not live and dare not even die only to ourselves.  Both life and death are not yours. 

Dear friends, please listen.  Our dear brother Lou was not the master of his own fate.  Therefore, it would be foolish to talk about Lou’s accomplishments and Lou’s actions in regard to everlasting life.  His life and his death, which are the most important things in a person’s life, were not his, but rather they belonged to Jesus.  That’s right, the owner of all that Lou had and is, is Jesus. 

This is so, for when Christ bled and died on the cross, He did it for Lou.

This is so because the Lord baptized Lou into His Holy Name making Lou His own.

All of Lou’s living and even his dying is not only in the Lord, but the Lord is the owner of it. 

Therefore, take comfort this evening, for Jesus is not only Lou’s master, but yours too.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the owner of all that you and I have and are.  And the Lord's ownership over us does not cease at death. Our dying does not lead us to an uncertain end.  Therefore with Lou and with the Apostle Paul we can boldly confess that in living and in dying we belong to Him; He never lets us go.

Lou belonged to the Lord.  You, who have ears, hear this as well, ‘You belong to the Lord as well.’  It is not about the strength of you taking possession of the Lord, but the fact that the Lord has bled for you, died for you, resurrected for you, washed you, worded you, breaded you, and wined you—making you His very own possession. 

Thus, tonight in the midst of grief for the loss of Lou, we stand and we confess with boldness that we belong to the Lord, like Lou.  In the midst of the pain of loss, we stand and confess with boldness that nothing can snatch us from the Master’s hand nor separate us from His love—not even death. 

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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