HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS
KEEP YOUR FORK
(Note: Only once, as I recall, have I deferred the authorship of this column to another. Today I am using a touching article by David Sargent, minister of the Creekwood Church of Christ in Mobile, AL. I have never met David, though I have heard many good things about him. I am acquainted with his father and mother, Glen and Sara Sargent, and I knew very well his maternal grandparents, H. A. and Louise Dixon. Brother Dixon was the long-serving president of Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, TN, my alma mater. I had several Bible courses under brother Dixon and esteemed him highly as a master teacher and as a prince of preachers. I believe all of our readers will enjoy the following article from David Sargent taken from the publication, “House to House, Heart to Heart,” Volume 19, Number 1.)
A young woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a short time to live. As she was getting her things in order, she asked her preacher to drop by to discuss her funeral.
She mentioned the songs she wanted to be sung, scriptures to be read, and a few other details. As he prepared to leave, she had one more request. “There is one more thing,” she said. “What’s that?” the preacher replied. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”
Puzzled, the preacher asked, “Please pardon me, but did you say you wish to be buried with a fork in your right hand?” She explained, “Yes. In all my years of attending church dinners and potlucks, I remember that when the dishes were being cleared, someone would remark, ‘Don’t forget to keep your fork!’ This was a reminder that something wonderful was coming, such as chocolate cake, banana pudding, or deep-dish apple pie. So when people see me in my casket with fork in hand, you can tell them that I expect something far better to come.”
The preacher’s eyes welled up with tears as he hugged her, knowing that this might be the last time he would see her. He also realized that she had a profound grasp of heaven.
At her funeral, scores of people walked by the casket, noting the fork in her hand. Over and over, the preacher overheard the question, “Why the fork?” He smiled but said nothing.
During the eulogy, he told the audience about the fork and about what it meant to the woman. Although a few were crying prior to the preacher’s remarks, not a dry eye remained after he explained the meaning of the fork.
The next time you grab a fork at a fellowship meal, hold on to it a few extra moments and remember that for the faithful child of God, the best is yet to come!
Sin doesn’t give that kind of hope: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This is terrible news, since “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But the good news (the gospel) is that God loves us so much that He gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Through Jesus, we can have the forgiveness of our sins, be reconciled to God, and rejoice in the hope of eternal life (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Titus 1:2).
In order to accept God’s offer of salvation and eternal life, we must place our faith and trust in Christ (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). Then, we can “rejoice in hope” as we continue to walk in the light of God’s Word (Romans 5:2; 1 John 1:7).
As a child of God, you can keep your fork, for the best is yet to come!
March 18, 2014