Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

Time to put yourself aside

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Saturday was our lone day off this weekend.

We started working on Good Friday service at 5PM Friday, had the service from 7-7:45, and stayed until about 8:30 by the time we finished getting the Easter prep out of the way.

Sunday was looking like a typical Sunday for us: out of bed at 6:30AM (I’m more like 7:15 now with DST), get to church at 8 for practice and setup, and hopefully leave church by noon for the 2-hour drive to my in-laws.

The last thing I wanted to do was go to a funeral home on my one free weekend day. The father of one of our members passed away last week, and the funeral was Saturday morning.


But, as my wife pointed out, we are stuck in a perfect storm this week. Our church is without a pastor until May 1 (God got us through 8 months without a shepherd), and the rest of the staff took the week off for Spring Break. She’s the only person on staff left to make it. And, we had just enough time to pop in before driving another half-hour to an Easter egg hunt we promised to the kids.

So, we drove… and drove… and we got there, and the whole time, I’m mentally starting the countdown for when we need to get out to drive and drive and drive to the egg hunt.

When we got there, I hadn’t expected to shut down the timer right away. The woman’s husband greeted us and as we spent some time talking to him, he gave us a lot of insight into the life that his father-in-law led.

How his sense of humor was reflected in some of the decorations, a ribbon on a casket spray that said “Handsome Bob” as a riff on the way he answered the phone.

The fact that all the men were wearing suspenders to pay tribute to him.

The running slideshow of family pictures on the TV with a family full of life and joy.

The stories of how they cared for him in his final month on earth, the people they met at the nursing home where he was living, and the joy that the friends he made in the care facility spread to their family.

I felt joy for supporting this family in their grief, and the surprising amount of joy that they had was infectious. I could have stayed and listened to more, but I got lost in the moments. It was actually my wife who reminded me it was time to go.

Those are the moments that are not about you. Instead of realizing the joy of community and the joy of grieving with members of our church body, I was focused on the obligations of duty and the free time I thought I lacked.

Those are the moments that are not about you. They are never about you.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.–Romans 12:15 (ESV)


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