Shun’s Eulogy

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On Saturday, I was blessed and honored to eulogize my uncle, Shun Bishop. For my family and friends, I’d like to share that message with you today. May it bring hope, comfort, and encouragement to us all.

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity. (Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10 NKJV)

Exclesiastes is written by King Solomon. King Solomon was the son of King David. When he became king, God visited him in a dream and told him to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom to lead God’s people.

Because he didn’t ask for money and fame, God blessed him to be the wisest man who ever lived and the wealthiest man who ever lived. Truly his fame was world wide. Kings and rulers from all over the world heard tales of his great wisdom and visited him.

He is the principle writer of the wisdom books of the bible which include Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. But Ecclesiastes is probably the most unique of the three.

In this book, Solomon gives details on his search for wisdom and fulfillment in life. He went into the world with all of his resources and influence and tried to find true meaning in all the things a man can do.

He tried drinking until he got his fill and found it was vanity.
He tried chasing women and found it was vanity.
He tried eating and found it was vanity.
He tried seeking knowledge and found it was vanity.
He tried finding fulfillment in his work and found it was vanity.
He gained great wealth and found it couldn’t make him happy.

In the end, He declares vanity of vanities. It’s all vanity and grasping at the wind.

But here in Ecclesiastes 11, Solomon speaks a word of encouragement we all need to hear today.

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity. (Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10 NKJV)

It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, we should learn to rejoice in the life we have and allow our hearts to cheer us while we can.

We’ve got to learn how to live.

We’ve got to learn what it means to be truly alive.

One of the things I admire about Shun was the way he lived. He didn’t live with uncertainty. He lived with conviction and vitality. It showed up in everything he set his heart to do.

If Shun wanted to cook, he cooked. He didn’t stumble around the kitchen. He cooked.
If he wanted to travel, he went. He didn’t make excuses and talk himself out of it. He went.
If he wanted to play basketball he played. It didn’t matter who was guarding him, if he decided he wanted to take you, he shook you.
If he wanted to ride out, he rode out.
If he decided you were his friend, then you were his friend.
If he decided to love, he loved deeply, and passionately, without pretense.

He was alive and allowed his heart to cheer him even when there was cause for sadness. He had a strength and resolve about himself that kept him anchored even in the midst of the storms of life.

He would want you to know that you’re alive. “We are alive!” While we have life, we have to learn to live. Let your heart cheer you in the days you have right now.

While we’re living …

We’ve got to learn how to live with our eyes opened.

Solomon says we need to “Walk in the ways of our hearts, And in the sight of our eyes”. We should live each day seeing the beauty that God has created and being moved by that beauty.

Too often we pass through life with our focus too narrow. We have tunnel vision. We are  looking at what we want. We only look for our next good time. We’re looking for the next big thing.

We look at our work because we think it gives us meaning.

Some of us can’t see much in life because we allow our vices like alcohol, immorality, and foolish pride to put blinders on our hearts.

We fail to see the beautiful life that’s passing us by. We fail to pause long enough to see the truth of our actions and the path on which we’re headed.

We should live with our eyes wide opened like Shun. He was very observant. He watched and studied everything. He watched people. He didn’t always say a lot because he was always looking. He wanted to see how things worked.

Christmas Story
One Christmas Eve when I was around 6 and Shun was 10 he wanted to see how Christmas worked. We watched the news and saw a report that Santa was spotted on radar over Birmingham. Since we didn’t have a chimney, Shun wanted to know how Santa was going to get into our house. So we got out of bed and hid in the kitchen cabinet so we could see into the living room.

After some time we saw the front door open and “Santa’s Helpers” began bringing in our new bicycles and gifts. We stayed until “Santa’s Helpers” had gone outside and made our way back to bed.

Shun was always looking for the next thing he could learn. He knew there was more to life than just Hooper City. He knew there was more to life than just running the streets. He was comfortable with new experiences and places.

If he could speak to us today, he’d tell us to chase after the sight of our eyes. Live making memories that won’t fade. Don’t miss the beauty that’s surrounding you right now. See the world in glorious color and be dazzled by the complexity of life.

In every moment, in every circumstance, live with your eyes wide opened. But never forget we must live with God.

We’ve got to live with God.

Solomon encourages us to live and enjoy life. But he also gives a word of caution. He says “But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity.”

God is watching. He’s not watching like some mythological Zeus, perched on a cloud with lightening bolts ready to strike us down. No, God is watching us live. The bible says he knows our rising up and sitting down. God is looking at our actions. He is observing our thoughts. He’s weighing our hearts.

God is omnipotent, meaning he is all powerful.
God is omniscient, meaning he is all knowing.
God is omnipresent, meaning he is everywhere.

There is not one thing we can do that God doesn’t see and understand.

In Psalm 139 Solomon’s father King David said…

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. (Psalms 139:7-12 NKJV)

When you live your life in the dark, you may be able to hide from me, but you can’t hide from God.

The persons who are responsible for this loss can’t hide from God.
The people who who saw what was happening and turned their faces away can’t hide from God.
Those who wouldn’t even lift a finger to help can’t hide from God.
The people who failed to speak up when they were asked if they saw anything can’t hide from God.

God saw their jealousy. He saw the covetousness. He saw the malicious intent. He saw the hatred. He heard their words. He saw what they stole. He searched their hearts. He knew their thoughts. And their deeds are written in the book that holds the record of their lives.

One day they will have to give an answer for the things they did.
One day they will have to own up to the things they whispered in secret.
One day, they will face something worse than justice. They will face judgement.

In the book of the Revelation John said…

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV)

Every single deed we perform and every word we speak is being recorded in heaven. If we fail to live this life with God, we will be judged according to those deeds. In the end, anyone who’s name is not written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.

Death and hell will also be cast into the lake. Death is gonna die and hell is going to a place that’s worse than hell. Judgement is coming to those who fail to live this life with God. The only way to make piece with God is to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord of your life and savior of your soul. There is no other name under heaven by which men might be saved from destruction.

Conclusion

Earlier this week I asked Auntie Wander a question. She and Shun had visited our church and Shun heard me preach for the first time. She said Shun believed our church was headed in the right direction and that he enjoyed the sermon.

Then she told me something that gave me hope and joy. She said Shun had professed his faith in God. He prayed often. In his adult life he had read the bible cover to cover three times. He believed in the power of prayer and that God answered prayer.

I believe somewhere in heaven, in the book of life, eternally written in the blood of Jesus is the name Shun Bishop. I know we will see him again. We will miss him now, but we will rejoice with him again in glory. We may shed tears because he’s gone but he’s waiting to see us one day on the other side.

We must come together as a family and strengthen the bonds between us. We must live together in peace with each other. We must lay aside petty differences and realize how blessed we really are.

We must live with joy in our hearts. We must live and make memories that won’t fade. We must live remembering the good times we shared. We must live seizing the moments given to us. We must live full of life like Shun did. We must live with passion and conviction. We must live because life is a prescious gift.

We must live because tomorrow isn’t promised. We must live and learn to love again. We must live looking to the hills from whence cometh our help. All of our help comes from The Lord. We must live knowing the that this light affliction which is but for a moment works in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

We must live believing all things work together for good for those who love The Lord and are the called according to his purpose. We must live knowing weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning. We must live breathing in every experience, feeling every emotion, thinking new thoughts, and holding on to our hopes and dreams.

We must live with God as our guide and heaven as our goal.

That is what makes life worth living. That is where we find our hope.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.

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