17th November 2012

Keep Your Spoon

“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 (NKJV UK)

Pat Halford, wife of a minister in our fellowship, told the following story at an African women’s conference, back in 1999.

A church member was diagnosed with cancer, with little time left, so she contacted her pastor and asked him to come and see her. He was shocked to hear of her diagnosis, but dutifully made note of all the funeral details she outlined: her favourite hymns to be sung, Bible passages to be read, and so on. She wanted to be buried with her favourite Bible and dressed in her best dress. This was all set down as she requested. Then she said, “Oh, and just one more thing. Bury me with a spoon in my hand.”

The pastor was puzzled. So she explained, “Whenever we have a social in our congregation, a special gathering in church, we always have food. And as we clear away the course we’ve just served and eaten, we tell the people, ‘Keep your spoon’, by which we always know that something even better than we’ve just had is about to come along. As people view my body ready for burial, they will see the spoon in my hand and ask the question, ‘Why?’. And you, dear pastor, can tell them.”

The pastor was humbled. Here was a believer who had a clearer understanding of the reality of the hereafter than many. She knew that she was facing, not an end, but something better.

So come the day of her funeral, there she was dressed in her best dress, with her favourite Bible, and with the spoon in her hand. “Why the spoon?” the pastor heard many ask.

In his funeral address he told them what she had said to him, and many went home that day with a clearer view of her faith and the hope she had, than from anything else that he could have said.

Most merciful Father, you have prepared something better for us as our future. As fragile human beings, help us always to keep in mind that you have plans for us, which you tell us about, but which we, so busied with this life’s matters, can easily forget. Please help us to remember today our tomorrows with you and make them part of our daily faith. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford 

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