Joe Hobbs - Fifth and Gravesite Speaker of the Funeral Service for Gilbert Ricter - Lakota, ND - June 4, 2005, 10:30 a.m.

Workers sang hymn 403, “Impelled by Love”  

 
Workers sang hymn 412, “When Life is Ended”  
 
We think of this event today and the death of our brother, Gilbert, and approaching something greater in might, in eternity. Two verses that have been special to me came to mind, helping us in this matter of understanding the life of one who has given himself in this work of God, one who has heard the call of the gospel.

In Acts 20:24, Paul who was speaking to those at Miletus, also the elders of Ephesus, he could talk about events prophesied earlier, and then he says, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

The other verse is 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” One of the thoughts from the first verse I read to you reflects the attitude and spirit of one who gave himself in this work of God, and the purpose which he recognized as his and found himself pursuing through the experiences of life. I believe that every true servant of God would have this manner of thought for himself.

He said, “I don’t count my life dear to myself,” and then he said, “That I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Paul was looking to the end of the matter and was seeing a satisfying result of a life spent according to the work of God to bring to others a dying life by a living ministry and to present a ministry that was reflecting the life of God, a ministry in whom God could work. As our brother dealt and moved amongst others, he sought to help those that would listen to the message and that God by His Spirit could call to Himself and that his finish would be in the will of God so this in which he was bringing to others would reflect the power of life.    

The other verse from 1 Corinthians 15 would reflect his thought toward others, and what others would have and experience as a result of accepting the gospel and seeing the purpose of life, and reflecting it as a testimony of hope and the power that would change lives of those who would respond to the work of the Spirit. This message, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord,” and I felt this would be the testimony Gilbert would like to leave with us today. The message of investing our lives in that which God has called us to, and that in this, we can have the hope that God is ours by the Gospel. We sense the urgency of life and its brevity, and recognize it as a time of investing in what will give us hope beyond. May that strengthen our faith to live beyond ourselves and to believe in this hope and to trust in His leading.

Joe Hobbs closed in prayer.