Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Eternal Life

It’s been a week since Mark passed away. Since his death, I have been reflecting on his life and the example for living he left behind. Mark’s funeral was more difficult than I thought it would be. I cried from the moment I saw the crowded parking lot. The funeral was a celebration of his life, but what made it sad was just knowing that this wonderful, godly man was no longer going to be sharing in any of our lives. The church was packed with military members, family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers, all of whom came out to honor this dear man. I knew he was an officer in the Army, but truthfully, I had no idea he was a Colonel until after his death. When Mark and his family first began visiting our church, our pastor asked if he should address him as Colonel or Dr. Mark Stiling. Mark’s response, “Just call me Mark.” That is a testimony of how humble he lived his life. He wasn’t caught up in titles. I could give example after example of what an awesome human being Mark was, but it still wouldn’t do justice. If you didn’t know him, you missed out on knowing a spectacular person. If you did know him, then you know how blessed you truly are. Mark served the Lord through encouraging and praying for others. I wish I could have encouraged and prayed for him one last time, and told him what a blessing he was to our family. I hope out of Mark’s death comes life, and by that I mean eternal life. Read on.

It is comforting to know that Mark is no longer in pain or having to go through cancer treatments. Instead, he is walking with Jesus down the streets of gold that make up Heaven. That is only possible because Mark had a saving knowledge of Christ. He (Jesus) died so that others could live. The Bible says that all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and the payment for this sin is death (Romans 6:23). But, the Bible also teaches that Jesus took our sin on himself and died in our place. He was our substitute (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Although we try to earn our way into both Heaven and God’s good favor by doing good works (going to church, being kind, giving to the poor/needy, etc), Scripture teaches it is only through faith in what Christ has done (died on the cross for the sins of all mankind, was buried, and on the 3rd day rose again) that saves us from eternal death, or Hell (Ephesians 2:8-9). The “work” God requires is this: Believe in the One He has sent (John 6:28-29).

If one person reading this gets saved, then Mark’s death was not in vain. He lived his life to the fullest, sharing the love of God with all he met. Even in his death, Mark is still serving the Lord.

2 Shared with Me:

Mitchell said...

From your brief eulogy here, Mark seems like an incredible man. Not from a stance of Power, Fame and Fortune, but of what matters most. I would venture to say his death is not in vain regardless of the readership. It's God's plan, His currency, far be it for me to understand. I so like Aaron Shust's words in Our Savior, Our God...

"I am not skilled to understand,
what God has willed what God has planned.
I only know at his right Hand
stands one who is my Savior."

Peace to you during your grief and I pray God provides you some solace.

Sergio said...

Wow i came across this somehow...and just wanna tell you I will pray for you to get even stronger and get through this.
serj,
someone who cares