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Church Graveyards

Pastor Josh Hayden, Living Rock Church, Luverne

It’s a picture that we are all somewhat familiar with even though churches have changed throughout the years. It is a picture of the little church in the country with a tall steeple, white paint, a small sign sharing their service time and Sunday school time.
And then just next to it, a graveyard. People who used to worship at this church are now buried six feet below the ground.
For many people this was uncomfortable, not welcoming, and somewhat disturbing to have agraveyard so close. But this decision to put a graveyard next to a place of worship was not amistake. It was actually as purposeful as putting the cross up front in the church, stained glasswith pictures of Jesus’ life journey, and having communion regularly.
What happens when you look at a grave of someone you used to know? Someone thatyou used to talk to, hug, talk about the weather with, and worship with? It makes you realize thefragility of life and the vanity of pursuits that we so easily pursue.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 tells us that “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the endof all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.”
Every person one day will lay in the grave, nomatter how much money they made, no matter how many trophies they have, no matter howmany likes on social media they get, and no matter if they go to church or not.
So what is thepoint of the graveyards? It is a reminder that life is too short to worship anything other than God.Worship is the giving of your time, money and attention.
Why would you worship the idols of today when they will not save you from the grave? The idols of politics, power, sex, sports, popularity, earthly comfort, and so many other things that one day will fade away.
Don’t read this wrong. Those are actually all good things, but when our time is spent more on thosethings than on the things of God, we can deceive ourselves into “having the appearance ofgodliness but denying its power” as Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:5.
What does that look like? It looks like claiming to be a Christian but having no power to actually live in godliness because you continue to bow to the ways of the world. There is nothing in your life that actually reflects Christ-likeness besides your saying that “Yes, I am a Christian.” That is a terrible place because you are deceiving yourself and not helping others either.
I don’t advocate that we bring graveyards back to each church. That might get a little crowded in a town like ours.
However, if you find yourself driving past a graveyard soon, take itto heart to do some inventory about what you are actually living for. What are you pursuing?Are you worshiping God with just your lips, or with your whole heart? He is worth it, and your life is too short to waste it on anything else.
When we are lowered into the grave one day, I pray my life and your life will be ones that are filled with pursuing the things of God, the eternal things.

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