I couldn’t help but notice that the last several memorials at our church have come on days when the news ran stories of the death of someone famous. While the workers in newsrooms scramble to gather biographical information and get it on a teleprompter small families gather together and tell stories of their loved ones recently lost. These precious people were never famous, never even terribly successful in the eyes of the world. You will not hear their lives outlined on the news, no dedicated fans will leave flowers at the front gate of their mansions. They die without any pomp and there are no traffic snarls because of their funerals. But these seemingly quiet deaths sing loudly in the ears of the Lord.
The day Steve Jobs died a lady from our church also died and the reaction of the world to the death of Jobs could never compare to the love this lady’s family showed at her memorial. Comparatively few people knew that she died and yet her death, not Jobs’, was the more momentous.
When a celebrity dies the usual news report is full of their life achievements. It is because of these achievements that we are expected to find their death to be of great moment. But a life full of achievements is not what makes one’s death important. The elderly lady who died on the same day as Steve Jobs had perhaps not had as industrious a life as Jobs and yet her death had greater value in the sight of Lord. This morning the news carried a story of the death of a member of the Beegees while this afternoon our church had a memorial for an infant boy. A baby has had no opportunity to live a life full of accomplishments. But it is not such a life that finds favor with the Lord.
Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” When one of His own dies the Lord does not look upon fame or fortune, success or failure. He looks upon His own and lovingly welcomes them into His kingdom and His rest. Their death is so precious to Him because they are so precious to Him and the Shepherd knows His own. And therein we find our life.