I grew up in Leesburg United Methodist church. It was a church that had a lot of traditions. When someone died, there often were plaques put on a pew or window or a picture saying, “In Memory of….”, the loved one. When I was pastor of First UMC in Martinsville, we put new stained glass windows in the sanctuary. The price tag was large but most of the money came from families that desired a plaque in memory of their loved one. I remembered these things when I recently saw that a lady died and, in lieu of flowers, she wanted backpacks filled with food placed in the sanctuary that would then be distributed to children who didn’t have enough food on weekends. When she died, the church was filled with backpacks full of food.
As I went to scripture in I Samuel 20, David wanted to remember his friend Jonathan. Instead of giving something that was not alive, David found something that was very much alive. David chose to extend kindness to Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, who had been permanently injured. Mephibosheth had been dropped by a nursemaid in the confusion following his father’s and grandfather’s deaths. (II Samuel 4:4) He gave Mephibosheth all the land that belonged to his grandfather Saul. Saul had hated David but David decided to honor Jonathan’s family. David decided not to put up a Memorial but to honor the living and extended kindness to Mephibosheth.
This is a good example for us. When a loved one dies, let’s extend kindness and love to those left behind. God asks us to show mercy and kindness to one another.
II Samuel 9:1: David asked, ”Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
Author: Tommy Herndon