2 Corinthians 4:18, 5:1-10. It isn’t at any time an easy thing for those of us who are workers to have any funeral service, but in one sense, this service is different to any other that I have had the opportunity of attending. The one to whom we are paying our last respects upon this earth, I have known for exactly fifty years, and all during those fifty years, I have been closely associated with him in almost every line of service pertaining to this wonderful Kingdom of God, and if you were to ask me what I know about Jack, it would take me a long time to tell it all, but I can put it simply in this little sentence, that everything that I knew of Jack encouraged me to put the most that I had into the service of Jesus Christ, and much of what I rejoice in, I can attribute to my association with our brother. It has been mentioned already in the meeting here, that sixty years ago, in the country of Ireland, Jack heard the Gospel message, and it had an appeal to his own heart that enabled him to turn his back on everything that he had hoped to attain in this world as a young man. A time like this always brings me face to face once again with this great eternal plan that God has for men and women of all ages and nationalities, and I am very thankful to know that this plan never changes, it is the same today as it has ever been. Thousands of years before the world was ever made, this was God’s plan. What you and I enjoy is what has been in the mind and will of God for countless ages of Eternity before this world was ever made, and will be the plan of God through the countless ages of Eternity.
Isn’t it a wonderful thing that sixty years ago in Ireland, God’s eyes were looking down upon the life of a young man, and God saw that in that heart there was a purpose to do that which was right, and He gave to that young man the opportunity and privilege of hearing that everlasting Gospel that calls a person from the power of sin and death and darkness and brings them into this wonderful fellowship and family of God. I thank God for that call that came sixty years ago to our brother. Six years later, he heard another call from God of Heaven, to leave his home, his mother, his business, all his friends, to go out into the world as Christ’s servants have always gone into the world – homeless, poor, forsaken, mistreated, misunderstood by the world. Fifty-three years ago that call came to Jack. He said, “Lord here am I, I am willing for whatever it may mean or cost to be Your true servant,” and in weakness, fear, and trembling, he was led out into the great harvest field, and God began to sow that life of his as a corn of wheat, dying every day. Right to the very last day of his life, that death was still working there – that willingness to be a nobody, so that Christ’s life might be planted in the lives of men and women. We are not glorifying Jack for that, we are glorifying God that called him, and continued His work in his life.
I had a letter from him saying, “I would like you to come and see me, but I don’t want you to come for a few more weeks.” I stayed two weeks, but every message I got assured me of the fact that if I didn’t go soon, I might be too late. He wasn’t able to talk very much to me, but everything he said to me during those days was in connection with the Kingdom of God. One of the last audible things he said to me was, “I wonder who it will be right to send to a certain convention this summer.” That was the last message that I got from our brother. There were a few other words, always in connection with the Kingdom. I went away to attend a special meeting, and returned as soon as possible. The first thing he asked me was, “How did the meetings go?” There was death working in that man to the very last of his life. Death for the Kingdom’s sake, sacrifice, self-denial, separation from all that other men and women are living for today. All those things, I said, “What a wonderful life it is to live as a servant of God, to see what it brings into a person’s life at an end.” There was a man who lived in the same city, 84 years of age, and almost every day that old man came, but never came empty-handed, but always came with some fruit or something. He was almost afraid to go out into the street lest he would drop dead, but he said, “I have never yet seen the bride that was not looking forward to meeting her bridegroom, and even if I have to drop dead on the street, I am thankful for the privilege of being associated with a man of God, a servant of God like Jack has been.”
After we had had our supper on Monday night, many of the workers gathered in. I went up to his room as usual to see how he was and it came to me, maybe tonight will be his last. As I sat there, I took him by the hand, and I took his pulse. I held his hand there for hours, and I felt that pulse getting weaker, and with each breath I wondered if that was the last. I felt we should send word to all the workers in that area, and in less than half an hour, sixteen of Jack’s fellow-servants were sitting or standing around that deathbed, almost in adoration, as they watched that life struggling to stay in that body. Then there came the last gasp of breath, and his face was racked in torture because of the pain that he was enduring, but after that last breath there came onto Jack’s face the expression of an angel. You will see that expression today as you pass by the coffin. All that weakness and anxiety passed away. The peace that passeth all understanding was stamped upon that countenance, and Jack went home to meet his God and to enjoy the reward of a faithful, true, consecrated life. “All things are for your sakes.” Can you picture this in that sense this afternoon?” “That the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.” Do you feel that God is interested in a gathering like this, and rejoicing in the fact that in this 20th century He can call men and women away from all the ways of life to pour out their lives for the sake of others? We had a service in Oakland, and when we went to pay the funeral director, he said, “We consider it a privilege and a pleasure to serve such people as we have been serving. Mr. Carroll must really have been a disciple of Jesus. He was never married was he, never had a home of his own, and if he had, he could never have gathered around him so many loving friends that we have seen today.” Do you think it is in vain? God doesn’t. God rejoices that a company of people are here today such as this to pay their last respects to one that they love more than anyone else in all the earth. This has taken place that God might be glorified.