The Ministry of the Obituary
Jonathan Edwards lived a humble life of great influence. He was a pastor, theologian, evangelist, and missionary. He entered Yale before he turned 13. When he was 19, he wrote 70 resolutions which he reviewed every week to live intentionally to honor God. Several were on the subject of reflecting on his own deathbed, and determining to do his best to live without regret:
17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.
How very wise to be a young man and reflect on his own last days in order to decide how to live. There is always a ministry in the obituary, if we will pause and reflect.
Another young man, also 19, reflected recently on his grandfather’s passing and the life he lived.
This is what Kyler Wilson shared about his grandfather at the funeral last month celebrating the life of Preston Jeurink:
In James Chapter 2 it says “Someone will say, “you have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith by my works!”
My Grandfather was a man of very few words. His actions spoke far louder than anything he could have said. To me, he was a Warrior of Christ.
His actions set the tone for his family. That tone was “For me and my house we will serve the Lord.” By making this statement through his works, his children grew up and understood that there would be a time where it was their turn to make similar statements and pass that on to their children. How incredible that the ACTIONS of one man would spark the faith for multiple generations. This is his legacy. Generations of Christians.
As a new husband and father I will follow the actions of this great man. To honor God, not just with my words, but my actions as well. I will not let his legacy end with me, not with my children or even theirs. And it is all credited to this one man…a very simple, principled and God-fearing man. My Grandfather.
Kyler honored the legacy of his grandfather, and in so doing, chooses to live to honor God. Will you also resolve to honor God and live your life in Christ alone? Why not decide now to live in such a way that no regrets will torment us when it is time to meet God face to face? What will my obituary say? Will my life be characterized and described by the fruit of God’s Spirit, since we are all known by our fruit? More importantly, what will God say of my words and actions?
Jean Fleming writes in Pursue the Intentional Life: “My life on earth has a time limit, a shelf life, an expiration date. When I number my days, each day rattles with sharp significance. What does this measured span look like as I weigh the brevity of my days? When I take those last breaths, how will I — and how will God — assess the days allotted to me?”
Another wise man wrote about these matters 3000 years ago. Solomon warned young men to consider the end of their lives in order to decide what kind of lives to lead now.
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”…
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12
This is indeed the conclusion of the matter.
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Preston Ray Jeurink
Preston Ray Jeurink, age 79, of Allendale, has fought his fight, ran his race, and has now been awarded his crown of righteousness (II Timothy 4:7-8) on Sunday, December 15, 2013. Preston had a strong Christian faith, which was evident in his strong character and his servant heart. He always put others before himself and dedicated himself to his family. Preston was a longtime, faithful employee of 50 years, at Hart and Cooley. He was also a charter member of Second Allendale Christian Reformed Church. Preston was preceded in death by his parents, John and Jennie Jeurink; and his brother, Dave Jeurink. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 56 years, Muriel Jeurink; children, Jay and Charlene Wabeke, Allen and Arlene Jeurink, Jay and Karen Wilson; grandchildren and great grandchildren, Jared and Sarah Wabeke (Auron, Elysia), Alexis Wabeke, Luke and Kari Zwagerman, Stacie and Allen Means, Tate Jeurink, Rachelle Jeurink, Michael and Makahla Krynock, Kyler and Lesa Wilson (Alaric), Chris and Melissa Wilson (Aiden, Logan, Savannah, Mekennah), Brandon and Becca Wilson (Meshach, Ezekiel, Noah, Jov); siblings, Jarv and Kathy Overbeek, Irv and Marianne Bos, Tres Jeurink, Sebeanne Jeurink, and Joyce Thorson; and his aunts and uncles. He will also be missed by his Sunset Home Services family, who loved and cared for him over the past six years.