My scripture reading for today includes these words from Paul’s letter to the Galatians:
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.(Galatians 6:7-10)
Today, my church family is laying to rest a dear brother in Christ who definitely “sowed to please the Spirit.” Marvin Beasley was a deacon, a teacher, an example, an encourager…and boy, could that man pray! When people in my community found out where I served as pastor, it was not uncommon for them to say, “That’s where Marvin Beasley goes to church, isn’t it?” And then they’d go on to say how Marvin had coached, taught, or mentored them in some way. And I’m glad to say that I, too, was often the grateful recipient of his kind words and ministry.
It has been hard for me to be absent from Marvin’s family and my church family as they deal with this time of loss. But I knew that this was one of the things that might happen during my sabbatical. And I’m deeply thankful for the way that so many in my church family have “stepped up to the plate” to minister in these circumstances.
My prayers are with Marvin’s wife Glenda and all the other members of his family today—not to mention all the friends who will mourn his passing. But it brings me comfort to know that Marvin knew the One in whom he believed. And I have no doubt that today he is “reaping a harvest” of life, joy, and peace in keeping with the seeds he sowed. May God grant all of us the grace to sow and reap in like fashion. Amen.