Funeral Sermon for Donald Rolls / Tuesday November 29th - 2016
Funeral Sermon for Donald Rolls at Mount Olive Lutheran Church Friday November 29st - 2016 / Pastor Ted A. Giese / Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus said, "Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. The world needs mechanics. Every vehicle you see pull off the auto dealers lot, every piece of farm equipment labouring in the field, every truck, every car, every van, they all eventually need repairs. No matter how well balanced, no matter how well made, they will need someone to pop the hood and get to work so that the vehicle can get to work. So that we can all get to work.
If you look around you might still see some old cars on the road, but remember those cars need a lot of mechanical work to keep them running; they need machinists, mechanics, men - and sometimes women - with grease on their hands. People willing to work and work hard. St. Paul says in his letter to the Colossian Christians, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward." Saint Paul says, "[That in your work, whatever that work is,] You are serving the Lord Christ."
Christ Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself." Don knew this and trusted this, he put his whole heart into his work trusting that the work he did was God pleasing, that the work he did served his neighbour in the community. He knew that doing a good job working on a car would help the owner of the car and would please the Lord Jesus. Doing a poor job would not please anyone. Don also knew that the heavy labour of mechanical work, when done in service to God for the benefit of the neighbour was not as heavy a burden as when it's done simply to serve the self and scratch out a little living for today. Don trusted that in order for a person to find actual rest from their burdens in this life that they need to learn what Jesus truly is like: They needed to learn that Jesus Himself is gentle and humble and patient and kind and hard working. Scripture likewise describes the Triune God - describes Father, Son and Holy Spirit - saying that, "The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." This is Jesus for you. This is Jesus for Don. This is the Jesus Don trusted in and this is the Jesus you can put your trust in.
So whatever work you set out to do, begin that task in the name of the Lord, asking for His favour and you will find that even though you still sweat, still get grease under your fingernails, still have aching muscles and scrapped knuckles, your heart will not be weighed down, because in Jesus, "you will find rest for your [soul]." Don had this rest in Christ Jesus.
In Psalm 90 we hear this prayer, make it your prayer, it goes like this, "Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!" God loves good hard work. That's what makes the world go round. In the work you do, do not simply seek the favour of man, but rather seek the favour of the Lord, and His blessing on that work, and when you do you will find your burden to be light. Oh the World will try and make your work burdensome and heavy all over again, do not trust the World, trust Christ Jesus. Come to Him for rest.
Ok let's shift gears, think of it like this: people are like cars, they are like trucks and van, in that they too can't repair themselves. A car can't swap in a new battery, it can't change a spark plug, a truck can't rebuild its transmission, can't do its own oil change. No, someone has to get in there and get their hands dirty. When we're stuck at the side of the road with the hazard lights flashing someone has to stop and come to our rescue. Someone has to get us to the garage for repairs.
Like a vehicle we Christians have a warranty but our warranty doesn't simply cover repairs and defects for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first, no, in our baptism - as Christians - we are given a lifetime warranty, but that warranty isn't just good for the length of our life, no our baptismal warranty is based on Christ Jesus' life and He is risen from the dead, never to die again, His life is eternal and that is what we receive in our baptism into Him. Through Christ, in Baptism, we inherit an eternal warranty, unlimited, extended forever with no end, and it is given to us as a gift.
When Don and Flo got married Don was baptised, and he received this precious gift of eternal life. He deeply cherished this gift. All through the rest of Don's earthly life, here with us, he could trusted that he, along with all Christians, "are [indeed God's] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." That's what Saint Paul says in his letter to the Ephesian Christians, and if we are God's workmanship, if we are His to keep running, for your good and for the good of others, then God will not leave us broken down. He will send a Mechanic to repair us and get us running. In Psalm 138 we hear a prayer for this kind of rescue, this kind of repair, when the psalmist prays, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands." Good Christian friends, You are the work of God's hands.
Yes the World needs mechanics, but those mechanics in their work point to the one Mechanic that the World truly need: Christ Jesus. Jesus is The Good Shepherd? Think of it like this Jesus is The Good Mechanic. He is the true and steadfast Mechanic who got grease on His hands when He was nailed to the cross, taking on the heavy burden of our sin, repairing our brokenness with His dying breath so that we can have rest, and have peace in our work, and then when our work is done eternal rest for our souls, and new and eternal life. Our own work doesn't add to, or produce, our salvation: We receive the work Christ did for us at the cross as a gift of grace, as St. Paul says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,"
Think of the church as the garage: Here your Mechanic, Christ Jesus, does His work; Forgives your sins, repairs your broken heart, He uses the fellowship of your fellow believes in this congregation, He uses His pastors, His Word read to you, preached to your, His Sacraments - Holy Baptism and Holy Communion - He uses all of these things to accomplish all the repairs you need to get you running. Don loved this place, and the Work that Jesus did for him here, the weekly "tune-ups" the regular "oil changes." He firmly believed that life without faith in Christ is a heavy burden, and that labour in this World can feel monotonous and pointless without Jesus: Don't go it alone, don't carry it all by yourself. Listen to the voice of Jesus, as Don did: Jesus says to you, "Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Jesus says to you, "learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Colossians 3:23-24
 Matthew 22:37-39
 Psalm 145:8
 Psalm 90:17
 Romans 6:9
 Ephesians 2:10
 Psalm 138:7-8
 Ephesians 2:8