“I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ said the Spirit, ‘let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.’” (Rev. 14:13)
What a wonderful thought! All that we do for the Lord in this life goes with us into the next and into the resurrection. It is like a bonus added to eternal life promised by Jesus. All that we have done for the Lord in raising a family, being a good steward of God’s creation through our work, loving our spouse, children and others, witnessing to the Lord through our conduct and sharing the good news with others – all of these actions do not die with the death of our physical bodies. They accompany us in some way into the next phase of life after life.
This past weekend, I traveled from Virginia to Sedona, Arizona to attend the funeral and celebration of the life of John Mooney, a good friend and Christian brother whom I have known for 33 years.
John was one of three founders of Christians in Commerce, an international Christian ministry whose mission is to encourage and equip Christians to be God’s presence in the workplace, bringing faith, integrity and excellence.
John was a mentor, teacher, evangelist and friend to hundreds of Christian men and women, including yours truly. I still carry in my Bible a frayed edged, handwritten guide to daily prayer that John gave me more than 30 years ago.
At his funeral mass, there was a sizable contingent of men from Christians in Commerce not only from Arizona, but also from around the country. We were privileged to be able to sing two of John’s favorite hymns at the beginning of the service, Rise Up O Men of God and He is Exalted. During the homily, the presiding priest asked how many people John had mentored and a large number of people from around the church raised their hands.
John was instrumental in starting a number of the local chapters of Christians in Commerce in both Arizona and California, many of whom still exist today. He owned and managed a chain of retail shoe stores. He carried the vision of Christians in Commerce into his work in how he dealt with his employees, customers and suppliers in the policies he established to manage his business.
John was renowned for his airplane stories of befriending whoever was sitting next to him, gently inquiring into their lives and moving the conversation into one about Jesus. These conversations would often end with John praying with the person for whatever need they may have had.
In all that he did, he always maintained his personal touch with the people in his life. Whenever he was in the Washington, D. C. area, he would usually stay with us. When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer a number of years ago, John called my wife first before talking to me in order to give her assurance and support.
The trail of John’s works for the Lord, accompanying him into his new life, is long and varied. His family and all of us who were present at his funeral rejoiced in a life well-lived.