The Process

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16 We never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.


We have come together today to celebrate the life and memory of Ruth Livingston. Ruth and I had a strange relationship. Casual observers assumed that we did not like each other but nothing could be further from the truth. I guess one of the reasons that we didn’t get along was our likeness. Neither of us would give in. I have pieced together a little acrostic that spells RUTH.

  • Ruth was Redeemed: I have no doubt that Ruth loved Jesus and that she understood the gospel…that all have sinned and come short…wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD.
  • Ruth was Unique. She was a pistol. She had a mind of her own. It was not easy to direct Ruth. Matter of fact, I don’t know that I ever directed her. If she wanted to sing, she would sing but you were not going to coheres her to do something she didn’t want to do. I was never able to get her to one Senior Adult function. I tried everything. I tried putting her on a guilt trip but she was buying any of that and she told me that she wasn’t going to come.
  • Ruth was Talented. She lead the music at DBC at one time. She sang duets with Lou Hayes. She sang in a trio with Lou and Virginia Penney. She sang with a quartet: Lou, Virginia and Hugh.
  • Ruth was Honest. Boy was she honest! She said what she thought and of course, so do I. {maybe the reason we didn’t get along} This blatant honesty can be a virtue or a vice. Ruth and I got involved in more than one heated discussion. She told Joe David that she was just pulling my chain to see me react and that could be true. I know it is true that I was pulling her chain. I use to brag {in Ruth’s presence} about how hard Ed worked. She would take just so much and then she would interrupt: “Old Ruth works hard too.”  She did enjoy working in her flower beds.


Ruth just got tired of living, she packed her bags and waited for her flight. She was ready to go and no one needs to be upset with her departure–it is what she wanted. We grieve her absence but we do not grieve her promotion.

I have chosen three verse in 2 Corinthians for today’s message and I share this very brief message in Ruth’s honor.


I want you to notice four things from this text:


As we get older, these earthly tents/tabernacles begin to wear out and they become a burden to us. Things that were once easy become very difficult. Ruth’s body was wore out, she was tired and homesick. You young people don’t understand what I am talking about but these bodies are in a state of decay. Our bodies are dying because we live in the world of the dying but Ruth has departed that world: she is now in the land of the living. There is only one death in eternity future and that is separation from God. Other than that, everyone is a live. According to Jesus, Sodom has yet to be judged. The same is true of Nineveh. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive. But due to sin, these old flesh and blood bodies are subject to death.


The word renewed means to be changed for the better. It actually means to renovate. While our outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renovated. God’s grace is at work in our spirit and He is transforming us into the likeness of His dear Son.


You may be thinking, “Speak for yourself,” my troubles are not small. Well they are small in comparison.


What better time to think of heaven than today! The Greek word translated ‘gaze’ is ‘skopeō’ from which we get our word scope. It means to look at, observe, contemplate, to mark, to fix one’s eyes upon. Literally, to take aim. Now, you cannot see heaven and neither can I but we can set our aim on heaven.

What is your aim on today? What do you have your eye on? More money…more success… more possessions…more pleasure. You have your eye on something. Are you gazing on the visible or the invisible? Everything you see with the outer man’s eye is going to disappear, it is a temporary thing. It is in a state of decay just like you and it will not last. The things you cannot see with the outer eye is what will last through eternity.

You cannot set your sight on heaven without setting it on Jesus. God cannot give you salvation a part from His Son.