Thursday afternoon several hundred friends attended the funeral for Ron Asmus, longtime friend and former home staff member of Bethany. What impressed me is the breadth of impact one life can have, when truly given to the Lord. Everywhere that Ron worked and everyone with whom he worked could tell the same story of fun, of friendship, of being blessed, and of being grateful for him. He was a servant – it wasn’t just what he did, it was who he was. He was a faithful servant to Bethany and in more recent years at Bethel University.
Following the funeral many stayed to visit and catch up with each other. Friendships run deep. Where there has been the genuine and deep investment into the lives of others there is a bond of friendship that goes beyond time and even the tough events of life. Why is it that even at a funeral there is joy? There was genuine joy among the people gathered. This could be what comes out of human friendship, but this was more than that. In talking with dozens of those attending; love, appreciation and warmth dominated. More than one person commented that it is too bad we often come together at funerals or weddings, but rarely in between. It occurred to me that these kinds of gatherings and the renewal of friendships are “appetizers” for heaven. I would imagine that Ron, who is now completely healed, has met up with the many that have gone before us from the global Bethany family. What a great reunion into the eternal life where tears, pain, and sin’s curse are no more. It is a reminder again of why we “live with eternity’s values in view.”
On Monday, the 24th, new students will arrive on campus. It is this coming week, and all that it means in terms of our calling, that stirs in me a sense of neediness before God. We will teach, coach, work with, pray for, lead, and hang out with these students for the next 9 months. It is God who will bring the transformation in their lives, plant the seed of His calling, and stir up a new passion in their lives.