Sam Wiley's memorial will begin a few hours from now. We'll talk about his life, the impact he made, the sweetness of his spirit, the faith that deepened as he approached death, and the joy he found.
I imagine we'll talk about Sam's future, too.
Paul wrote that our imperishable bodies are raised, in glory, to an imperishable, spiritual body. Sam's new body works great. There's no confusion in his brain, no problem with his memory, no dizziness, no stumbling, falling, or trouble chewing and swallowing.
A while back, Sam and I talked about what he wanted to see first in heaven. He didn't care about streets of gold, pearly gates, or the trees with healing leaves. He only wanted to see God, "because He's what it's all about."
Indeed, He is.
Sam loved his life. He loved taking care of animals, breaking horses, going out to eat with friends, playing with children, riding the tractor, fishing, gardening. He loved the simple routines of a farmer. He was a man of his word, and if he gave it, he kept it.
He was a simple man, and that's all he ever wanted to be. Just plain Sam.
He never wore a tuxedo, had a big bank account, took a vacation, attended a major concert, saw a Broadway play, rode a train, or owned a house or land. He never graduated from high school or attended college. He never bought a new car and never owned a cell phone. He never used a computer and never understood those who did.
By modern standards, he wasn't a successful man.
By eternal standards, though, he was one of the most successful men I know. He was respected, appreciated, and loved. His impact literally stretched around the world. Sam made us all want to live and love more simply, more completely.
With Sam gone to heaven, the world is a poorer place, unless someone rises up to take his place.
We, too, could live simply, love deeply, forgive quickly, give generously, if we would. It's a better life, so why don't we choose it?
Today, let's honor Sam's memory by examining his life and our own. Which gives greater joy? Which honors God the most? Which is filled with peace?
Do we need to make some changes? Today, let's make a choice to be the simplest, most God-like version of ourselves that we can be. If we do, one day, we'll look back on a life free of regret and full of joy.
"But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'" 1 Corinthians 15:54
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Life After Sam
Visitation for Sam Wiley is Friday, November 10th 12:30 to 2 pm with memorial service to follow in the choir room at Hope Church, Tupelo.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to "Sam Wiley Memorial Fund" by mailing your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put "Sam's Fund #5136" in the "for" line.