I know the plans I have for you
Funeral Sermon for Scott Steinberg
Matthew 11:28-30 // Revelation 2:10-11 // Jeremiah 29:10-11
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our sermon text for today is Jeremiah 29:11, I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, and Matthew 11 where Jesus says, “I will give you rest.”
Dear friends in Christ,
Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Come to me, you who are tired, and I will give you rest.
I can tell you this, there are different kinds of tired.
I remember my summers at camp during my college days. I would get done with the college semester just tired. Long nights, lots of caffeine, little sleep, bad food, reading, typing, and sitting. It was exhausting. But then, I would go to camp.
I remember that our days would start as the sun rose and we would be watching children until late. My days were full of canoeing and swimming, full of silly games and Bible study, full of walking miles and miles and miles through the woods and making breakfast, lunch and dinner over the fire.
I was tired but in a different way. Not so much of late nights and caffeine but full days and tasks well done. Not so much of writing papers and taking tests, but the questions of campers dealing with real life.
Scott was so tired at the end. But let me tell you what he was tired of. He was tired of breathing through a trach tube. tired of sickness, tired of pain, tired of doctors, tired of treatments.
But I can tell you what he wasn’t tired of. He wasn’t tired of his dear wife. He wasn’t tired of his daughters. He wasn’t tired of his dear little granddaughter, Emma Lynn.
And today, I would invite you to be tired, to be absolutely tired of death. To be tired of pain, tired of tears, tired of sorrow. Tired of struggle, tired of sin. Today, I would invite you to be tired of all these things that will pass away.
And today I would invite you never, ever be tired of these words, the words of our Gospel reading, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Never ever tire that the grace given in Jesus Christ is amazing, just as Trista sung, that the Lord is exactly what it says in Psalm 46, a refuge for all who are weary, and a strength especially when you are weak. Though your whole world would fall down around you, he is ever-present as a help in times of trouble.
I can tell you that when my son Benjamin was born, he was whisked away from us up to Children’s Hospital in St. Paul. We traveled on up in the afternoon and spent his second night alive up there, taking turns feeding him his bottle during the night, and I remember looking down at him, this precious little one in my arms, just two little handfuls of human being, and thinking, I’m never going to be tired again. I don’t need sleep anymore. I just need to look at this little guy, and I’ll be fine.
That didn’t last long.
But still, I know that I will never tire of seeing him grow up. I will never tire of seeing him figure out who he is. I will never tire of seeing this two little handfuls of human turn into a walking, talking toddler, turn into a speaking, running big kid, turn into a young man and beyond, wondering at the plans that my God has for him.
I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.
God’s plan for Scott included working construction and providing for his family. They included raising up four beautiful daughters. They included being a husband for 41 years. They included being a gentle and fun presence at daycare with all the girls and the boys (Because of him, Benny knows more about hunting than I do).
They included the days of cancer, God’s plans included the days in the hospital, the days of pain. They included the surgeries gone well and the surgeries with complications.
And in the end, they included the days when he could hold his little grandbaby, Emma Lynn Charlotte.
I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. More than all of that, God’s plans included that he sent his son to die for Scott, that he rose up on the third day for Scott, that in his baptism, Scott’s name was written in the Book of life, and in the name of Jesus, there is no more pain and there is no more cancer and there are no more tears where he is at Jesus’s side.
I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. That there will be a day when you, Carol, will speak to Scott once again in his flesh, and he will respond to you with his own voice. There will be a day when you will sit down together to enjoy the feast which has no end, to eat and drink in full what we know in part on the bench in your dining room. In the chapel during Christmas. The Lord’s Supper where we eat and drink with all the living and all the faithful departed.
There will be a day when we know in full that cancer and loss and tears and hospital beds and pain no longer will ever have the last laugh.
I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans to prosper you and not to harm. Plans that end only in endless joy. Plans that end in a future far better than we could imagine. Plans that end in eternal life that has no end.
May Scott rest in peace.
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