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November 28, 2007 / beidson

When Dust Shall Sing: A Tribute To My Grandfather

Last Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day, my grandfather passed away, and ended what many might call an insignificant life.  However, if significance is gauged by influence, then I would beg to differ.

My grandfather ran a pest control business for most of his life, taking care of unwelcome critters that could either eat your house from the inside out or at the very least give you the creeps.  He was a hard working man.  He paid his bills, kept his word, and provided for his family.  He never became a millionaire, but he enriched many, many lives.

However, my grandfather was not a blameless man.  My own father has shared stories with me about my grandfather that are not pleasant at all.  My grandfather was an alcoholic for many years and was the source of a lot of trouble in his home.  But what my grandfather took away from his family in those early years, he spent givng back for the rest of his life. 

My grandfather won’t be remembered as the man who caused pain because that man died a long time ago; the man that died last week was a different man.  He was a new creation in Jesus Christ, and because of the mercy and grace of God, he will always be remembered as a man who was thankful for every second he had to redeem his life through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.  Because of the gospel, my grandfather put down the bottle and gave up his life for others.

What strikes me as most amazing is that all of his children, who once knew him as the other man, only remember him now as the new man.  To my father and his siblings, my grandfather was a great dad and nothing less.  He sought the forgiveness of all he ever hurt, and by God’s grace, was even the source of healing for those very same people.

At his funeral, a friend of the family sang a song reminding us all of a reality to which we should all be aware:

When dust shall sing on resurrection morning 

The saints will rise and let their voices ring

Those who remain will be changed in a moment

We’ll hear the shout and trumpet sound when dust shall sing

The truth is, my grandfather’s body will now become the dust that covers beer bottles like the ones he once held in his hands.  His body has been put under six feet of earth, and for the time being, death mocks him as he lies there in his grave, unable to subdue the earth that was given to man by God to rule over. 

But there will come a day when my grandfather will push away that earth and again stand on top of it, victorious over the very thing that held him captive for so long.  On that resurrection morning, his body of dust will rise to sing, being made imperishable by the power of Jesus Christ, and he will be declared righteous by the atonement of Christ, and stand confidently before his Judge, though he once would have cowered in shame and fear.

How can an alcohol-loving man become righteous?  How can a man restore all that he has ever torn down?  By the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  My grandfather knew what it was to a be a sinner, but he knew just as well what it meant to be justified by the gospel of Christ.  He gave his time and money and heart to others because of what Christ had given to him, and that has influenced me more than he will ever know. 

“As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.  Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Cor. 15:48-49).


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