This may sound a bit off, but consider this a pastoral confession:
I enjoy being involved with people at their greatest point of loss.
There is nothing more tragic than the loss of someone you love. Death is hard, no matter when it comes. As a pastor, I am often involved in helping people through the loss of their loved one, and it is a sincere joy for me to be there to catch them when they fall apart.
Let me be clear: I believe that God is the one who catches them, He just happens to use my physical arms to do the catching.
There is something sweet about helping a family say good-bye. There are those unique moments in ministry when we get to stand with a family when the are reminded to return to the core of who they are and not what they have.
As a pastor, I’ve been invited to release people to death, stand with them next to the dead, make arrangements of for the body of the dead, plan the future (even if that is only one step at a time), and speak at a funeral. These are some of the hardest moments any person has to endure.
The type of ministry opportunities a loss brings to a person’s life only come a handful of times in our lifetime. I try my best not to miss these moments because you’ll never get them back. There is nothing like them.
Oh the joy that comes to my heart to weep with those who weep, mourn with those who mourn, and rejoice with those who rejoice. I am a servant to God, that means that I provide physical presence to the places His Spirit resides. My cooperation with the Holy Spirit can be the very comfort God intends to give in those with greatest need for Him.
Along the way, I’ve learned some lessons (maybe even the hard way). I want to share them with you, should you find yourself given the opportunity to stand for God in a gap of another person’s loss.
When it comes to speaking at a funeral or helping a family in the days preceding, I try to keep these three things in mind: