A dear brother and friend in Christ was just called home. I heard the news this morning as I was preparing to head to church. Matt was a good young man; he was 40 when he passed. What made him good? That’s just my opinion, my rating system. He gave more than he took.
Matt was the leader of our small group. He was responsible for leading 8 men and himself. Leading a small group is akin to saying his job was to be “Christ like” to us and set an example. Matt gave all that he had to our group. He was and is an excellent example of a small group leader.
Each one of us has a day that we are going to be called home – to heaven or to hell (Ecclesiastes 3:2). That’s true whether you believe it or not. Everyone has to reconcile how they got here? How were they born? How did humanity start? Even for the most ardent atheist you still have to explain how what you believe ever came from nothing.
Matt knew the Lord. The last email I received from him was on Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 at 3:22 PM, <Matt> wrote:
The Disciples did not realize that the empty tomb meant Jesus rose from the dead. They were too wrapped up in their grief from Friday to remember what Jesus said about Himself: That He would rise again. As we go through our trials, remember God’s promises to us so that we do not lose heart. Our deliverance may be right before us, but we may be too wrapped up in our selves and our grief that we fail to recognize it because we have forgotten Jesus’ promises.
Matt counted on Christ for Salvation (John 14:6). It was his hope (Romans 15:13).
Less than a week ago, a lot of us, people that he called friends and that called him friend, visited him in the hospital. He had a heart attack. He had a stent installed late Thursday night (or maybe Friday morning) – April 3rd or 4th.
When we saw Matt at the hospital on Friday he was praising God (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.). Matt was enduring (James 1:2-4) through his trial by deciding to give God glory no matter what the circumstances. He knew that nothing was greater than his Savior. He not only thought it, he lived it.
Four days after his heart attack, he was once again encouraging us with his emails and thoughts on our Lord.
April 9th, 2014 Matt wrote – Philippians 2:5-9: Do we want our way more than God’s way? Consider the lengths our Savior went to doing God’s will, and not His own. God may be leading us down some rough paths for purposes only He knows. But be encouraged. Our Lord went through far worse and is now seated at God’s right hand. He is not unfamiliar with our struggles. He knows how difficult it is. He is also right by our side throughout it all and asks us to endure. He will give us the strength (Isaiah 41:10, 40:29-31).
Matt knew no matter how “good” he was, that wasn’t going to get him to heaven. Jesus had this to say when someone called Him good – And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18)
Monday night a bunch of us are getting together to celebrate Matt. He was called home. Those of us that are still here will miss him. Some will mourn more than others; but his life, given and appointed by God for this specific time in history (Psalm 139:13-16), will be celebrated.
Why can we celebrate?
For no greater reason than Matt was “called home.” This earth, as it is now, is not home for Christians (John 18:36); it is the place we are refined and made ready for an eternal home prepared for us by our King, our Lord and Saviour.
Matt is now in heaven. I wonder what his eyes can see, what he is feeling right now, and what his thoughts are. I know without doubt that if he could tell us something, he would say “you don’t want to miss this! Ask Jesus to be Lord of your life. Accept His wonderful gift of salvation and choose the path that leads to heaven. Don’t miss this! I love you.”
In remembrance of Matt…