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Dealing in Hope

My Uncle Carl died recently at the age of 102. Having lived a long life, he was well-liked and respected by many. I can't really say a lot about him, because I only started getting to know him these past few years. He was my father's older brother from a rather large family of 9 brothers and sisters and two adopted nephews. I can get a little sad when I think about my father's dwindling family. I have lived long enough to see all but one of the brothers and sisters pass. Of course, I must remember that for everything there is a season -- as the writer of Ecclesiastes so eloquently wrote.

I attended his funeral for the sake of those he has left behind. It was not about him; we celebrated his life while he was here whenever we saw him or he passed a milestone on his journey. It's about those left here. It's about the Gospel message. After all, for a Christian, isn't it really all about the Gospel? It's about being a dealer in hope. it's about eternity with God or without Him. It's about the really important stuff. It's about love, which is God.

I recently watched an old episode of the Twilight Zone that was about a character named "Louis Bookman" and his dealing with "Mr. Death." In this particular episode, Mr. Death had come for Mr. Bookman, an older gentleman who was a salesman and very much loved by children of his neighborhood. Mr. Bookman would stand on the sidewalk of his city's streets and make his 'pitch' to passers by. At the end of his day he would return to his apartment house and treat the children of the neighborhood to little toys and an "ice cream social" after supper. He was able to convince Mr. Death to allow him some more time so he could make a "pitch for the angels." Of course,it it was a ruse for more time -- as he never intended to make the pitch any time soon! However, he was forced to do it to save a little girl's life, as Death was going to take her to fill his quota for that time slot. In delaying Death from keeping his appointment by distracting him with his best sales pitch ever, he saved the little girl's life -- but also forfeited his own in the process -- because he made the "pitch of a lifetime." In this story he acted as Jesus would have, willing to do whatever it took to save that little girl at the expense of his own life. The character of Mr. Bookman was one of a 'dealer in hope.' He made a fervent pitch in the hope of saving a little girl's life. Such love is celebrated throughout life and the substance of [what should be] the topic of a funeral. There is one who made the ultimate sacrifice and died as He had lived, for people and their salvation. His name is Jesus. He is the ultimate Dealer in Hope.

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