Exactly a week after Hollie and I got married, I found myself being a pallbearer at a funeral in Ohio. That week, Hollie’s grandmother passed away. Her name was Gyneth Boyle, a loving mother and grandmother. She had suffered for many years, battling diabetes, dementia, and various complications. With the sadness of death also came relief for the family. I rejoice that Grandma Boyle was a believer in Christ. One of God’s servants has come home.
I’m honored that I was asked to be one of the pallbearers. I confess that I didn’t know Grandma Boyle very well. I met her only a few times and by this point she wasn’t of sound mind. However my wife and others would testify to her Christian character and selfless service to her family. I listened as her pastor eulogized her, reiterating all of this. For those in Christ, a funeral for a believer is a celebration. It’s a celebration of what God has done, a life well-lived in service to Christ, and looking forward with hope to the age to come.
As I sat through the funeral service, I was hit once again with the urgency of evangelism. Grandma Boyle came to faith in Christ because she heard the Gospel preached. Unfortunately most of us aren’t hit with the urgency of evangelism until someone we know passes away. Young or old, death can strike at any point. The church has a mandate to preach the Gospel to all nations (Matt. 28:16-20) and this commandment is not at all in conflict with God’s sovereignty. We can have confidence in our evangelism precisely because He is sovereign over all things.
I appreciate all of the prayers given to our family during this time. Grandma Boyle is no longer with us, but I pray that we can emulate her Christian character. I also pray that her passing away will present opportunities for evangelism to unregenerate family members. Let the supremacy of Christ and His saving grace be communicated. Praise God for the expansion of His kingdom.