Garry Packard - First Speaker at Simon Dawson's Funeral - January 1, 2013

Hymn 276 (Precious Thought)


Joshua Chapter 1:1-2, something I have noticed in recent times. It says "My Servant." Why is it? Thinking of these great men particularly in the Old Testament, where God said, "My Servant David, My servant Elijah."


Let it be known that this day there is a God in Israel I am thy servant, a true servant upholding their master and Lord and knowing their place.  Thy servant is a lowly place.  A servant is often in the background, sometimes despised.  Murmured against Like Moses.  His brother and sister murmured against him.  Just be contented to remain a servant.  A servant is someone that is just like our Master.


Jesus took on him the form of a servant.  A servant of all, made Himself of no reputation when He stooped to wash His disciple’s feet.  Abigail, she was a servant to the servants.  The servant is one having a mind of their own but not expressing it.  They have a will of their own but don’t exert it.  A servant is one that just puts oneself at their master’s disposal.  Just faithfully sow their lives as seed.


I am glad for my time these last few weeks with my fellow labourers this side of the world.  Their willingness is to serve.  I thought of our brother because of ill health, not able to be active in this service like he would like to be.


Only last week we had to do a little preparation and he was right there.  The spirit of a servant still remained.  He may not have the health but he had the heart.  So many today have got their health but they have not got it in the heart.  Simon in the last days in the harvest field, it was his best days and the Lord took him at his best.


I found great comfort just to think of that.  When the news reached us in Penang, I felt the comfort and the sense of peace that our beloved brother is safely home with God and he has gone home to the other side.


Today we thank God for his years of service.  Particularly the last few years in the Lord’s harvest field.  Above all we thank God today for the gift of His Son Jesus who came to this earth and for all that it means that we could have His joy and peace within.  We also thank the Lord for the glorious gospel story sent from Heaven to this earth and some of us have a little privilege and part in.  The life of Jesus that was wholly given in the will of God poured out for our sakes.  We thank God for every life that has been willing to take forth this gospel.


 There was a happening in the New Testament that was sad.  The disciples of Jesus had just laid the body of John the Baptist in the tomb and gathered themselves unto Jesus.  That is what we are doing today.  We are gathered here unto Jesus as we lay to rest the mortal remains of our brother Simon.


 Like what Jesus said to them in Mark 6:31,  "Come ye yourselves apart and rest awhile.”  So while we were there in Penang we were already gathered together, God’s servants and God’s people from different lands.  On such an occasion all the family like to be together.  Simon’s passing had a sobering and softening effect on the convention.


We thank God for that.  We thank God that we could just rest awhile those last two days of convention.  We can again focus on Jesus, the Lamb of God and the purpose for which He came and gave us hope of life eternal; a hope that goes beyond the grave.


Now the multitude gathered again and He looked on them and saw them as sheep without a shepherd.  Jesus thought, who is going to gather the lost sheep from the multitude?  Who is going to care for those sheep?  Matthew 9:36 and when He saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion.  That was a message to me because I know I have not been doing that praying to the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers into the harvest field.


Jesus did not say to pray that this one or that one would go, but pray to the Lord of the harvest and let Him call them and thrust them into the harvest field.  Something every one of us can do.  Those lost sheep that someone could watch and care over their soul, to help make their calling and election sure, and have a hope of life eternal by preaching Jesus.


Simon was willing but could not continue because of ill health.  Let us rise as we pause a little and now go over Jordan, onto the pilgrim journey for we must continue; Let us arise and journey into that Promised Land.  There are many in other countries and their thoughts are towards us today.  We do extend our condolences to the Dawson family.  Pray the Lord of all comfort will be able to draw very near not only to them but to all of us at this time.