On September 23, my father finished his race and received his eternal inheritance. His soul has been in the presence of his Savior for a week. Today, we say our formal goodbyes. While we grieve the loss of Dad’s presence with us, we also rejoice that he has now received the goal of his faith.
We intentionally planned today’s services to celebrate this godly man who spent his life walking with Jesus. Paul’s words in his second letter to Timothy could have been written by Dad.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day (2 Timothy 4:7-8a).
The Bible repeatedly uses the image of a race to represent a believer’s life on this earth. Those who have trusted in Christ for our eternal salvation are called to lay aside everything that may hinder us and “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Our focus is Jesus. Our prize is eternity in His presence.
Our father made Jesus the foundation and goal of his life. We want the service to reflect that. We want to acknowledge the joy of his homegoing even as we grieve the loss of his presence with us.
We chose joyful hymns that sing of Dad’s spiritual reality.
When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory.
Victory in Jesus, our Savior forever. He sought me and bought me with His redeeming love.
We searched Dad’s Bible for passages he had marked.
We wanted to read Scripture that meant the most to him. He marked words that reminded him of his security in Christ:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:35, 37-39, ESV
Dad marked verses that pointed to his eternal home:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:1-3, ESV
Legacy of Faith
Dad also marked numerous passages that challenged him to focus on the eternal and not the spiritual. He underlined multiple Scriptures that describe the life of a true disciple. And that’s what my father was – a true disciple of Christ.
Everett Ray Head left a strong spiritual legacy. Daddy dearly loved his family and friends, but loved Jesus first and most. He spent his life closely following Jesus, faithfully serving the body of Christ, and loving his neighbor as himself. He was a godly father, an encouraging son and brother, and a kind and generous neighbor. If he saw a need, he met it with no expectations. He had a burden for the lost and boldly shared that salvation is found in Jesus alone (1 John 5:11-12).
So today, I will boldly follow my father’s footsteps. Do you have a saving relationship with Jesus? If not, find out more about eternal salvation. Only Jesus can provide a way to God the Father. He is our only hope.