Today I had the privilege of conducting the memorial service for the gentleman I introduced to you a few weeks ago, the man who had recently been given 30 days to live.

For a while things had taken a positive turn, so much so that the doctors believed it was beneficial to begin again to aggressively fight the cancer that had invaded his body.

This respite, as it turned out, was to be very short lived. Daryl passed away this past Sunday at 1:22 am. 

I must confess that the news of his passing caught me off guard. After previously being told that the doctors thought there was at least some hope, I had anticipated him being with us for some time.

So it was with great sadness that I received the report of his passing, especially since our church had basically “adopted” his family. 

Out of necessity I was asked to do the memorial service for Daryl  because our pastor is in the hospital awaiting surgery. I received the call yesterday morning that I would be doing the service, so needless to say it’s been a flurry of activity in preparation for today’s service.

Not coincidentally, this past Sunday also marked my official start as the new associate pastor of our church. To say that Debbie and I are busier than ever would be an understatement, but oh how we love it!

So, armed with personal notes from the family and my own ministry materials, we presented a message of love, hope, and compassion to this wonderful family. 

My message was short and to the point. I told them that at the end of our lives there are only two options as to where we will spend eternity.

Because Daryl had departed at a relatively young age (by today’s standards), I made a point that even if we lived to be 120 years old, compared to eternity that was a drop in the bucket. As the Bible tells us, this life is like a vapor, which means it doesn’t last very long.

I mentioned to the family that when we are young, all of us feel bulletproof and invincible. Let a few years pass by however, and those feelings of invincibility quickly fade away.

I could tell that this caused many of them to think about this, as the family was represented by a good mixture of all age groups. The younger ones especially gave this some thought, and I shared with them how that I felt that exact same way when I was younger.

I concluded my message by reminding them that when we come to the end our days, God doesn’t send us anywhere. We send ourselves to either Heaven or Hell based upon what we have done with Jesus Christ in this life.

I don’t think any of them had ever considered this before, and I pray it will stay in their minds until they each decide what they will do with Jesus.

Afterwards, our church had prepared a nice meal for the family, and that gave me an opportunity to get to know some of them. It was obvious that they loved Daryl, and the many children, grandchildren, and other relatives spoke so lovingly of him.

At the end of our time together I was pleased that so many told me they were comforted by the things I said. My hope and prayer of course is that they won’t just think on the things I said, but that they will also act upon them.

I think it would be wise for all of us to consider this issue of our life being like a vapor. The material things we strive for will one day be left here for others to deal with, because it is for certain that we will take no possessions with us when our time comes.

I close this blog with something a coworker of Daryl’s said to me today. It seems that many of them have been praying for Daryl for some time that he would give his heart to Jesus. He looked at me very seriously and asked me “do you think Daryl made it”?

My response was simply this: none of us knows the heart of another. What I do know however is that the Daryl that left this life was not the same Daryl I first met in the hospital nearly a month ago.

Many, many people have prayed for him, including some of you dear readers. In less than one month, Daryl went from a man who wanted nothing to do with “religion”, to a man who gladly and willingly reached for my hand when I asked him to pray.

Beloved, this life is like a vapor. Live your life in a manner that will matter for all eternity. Make it count. Really count. 

There are millions of “Daryl’s” out there counting on you!