Several years ago I officiated a funeral with these instructions: “Just read the Scripture. Don’t elaborate or preach on it and don’t tell any stories. Just read the Scripture.” So, to honor the widow, that’s exactly what I did. And it may have been one of the most powerful funeral services I have ever preached.
Today, I’m at a loss for words. And I’m reminded of those instructions: “Just read the Scripture. Don’t elaborate or preach on it and don’t tell any stories. Just read the Scripture.” So here’s a bit of Scripture from The Message translation of the Bible. No stories. No preaching. No witty one-liners. Just God’s Word. I pray that it is as powerful for you as it is for me.
Romans 12:9-21 The Message (MSG)
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.