Celebration of Life Service for Blair Murray
Doesn’t Blair’s song say it all?
Lord, I love to say your name,
To lift my voice in praise to you.
Your love for me will never change,
I love you, and I love to say your name.
Glory Lord, Honor Lord –
All belong to you.
Hail, my King-
You’re my everything,
My life is in your hands.
So make me what I ought to be-
Work out Your perfect will in me.
You’re love for me will never change-
I love you, and I love to say your name.
- Blair L. Murray
That’s Blair. That’s who he was.
I don’t have to preach this sermon to you this afternoon.
Because you’ve already heard this sermon.
Blair Murray lived this sermon before you.
He showed us how it’s done!
He showed us how to be a great man.
I struggled all week to try to figure out what to preach at Blair’s memorial service.
He was an impossible man to summarize. With his love of his family, his music, his church, his airplanes, his work-ethic, his humor, food, people, ministry, Bible, doctrine, relationships, prayer, missions.
He did everything with zest, and it was impossible to summarize it all.
But I did come up with one word.
And that was GREAT.
Blair Murray was a truly great man.
Now, in the world’s thinking, you are great if you have success, and status, and stuff.
And Blair wasn’t at the top of our society, a great man in that meaning. But Blair was truly great by the standard of greatness set by the Lord Jesus Christ. If you would turn in your Bibles with me to the Gospel of Mark chapter 10, I want to take you to passage that shows that Blair was a truly great man. Mark chapter 10, verses 42 through 45.
In this chapter Jesus’ disciples were arguing with one another about who was the greatest among them. I’m sure that was a very profitable conversation!
“I’m the greatest! No, I’m the greatest!”
So our Lord Jesus gathered them together to give them a lesson in true greatness.
Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'Notice that it is not a bad thing to want to be great.
Verse 43 says that it is a noble thing to want to be great.
So, when I say that Blair Murray was a truly great man, that is an honorable thing and an honorable thing for everyone here to aspire to.
To want that people would say that at your memorial service.
Do you want them to say that at your service?
Because your memorial service is coming, too. Perhaps soon. We don’t know when, do we?
I never guessed that we’d be doing Blair’s today.
But here we are.
What do you want them to say about you at your service?
It’s a good thing to want them to say, you were a truly great person.
But it has to be with the Lord’s definition of great.
It can’t be the world’s definition.
Jesus says that the world defines it by authority. V.42
“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.”
And it wasn’t with Blair. Blair didn’t need authority or to lord it over people that he was in charge.
He wasn’t the top dog.
He was a servant.
And that made him truly great. V.43
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”
That’s what made Blair great. He was a servant through and through.
Everybody here can testify to that.
Everybody here has been served by Blair.
How did he do it all? How did he do all of that serving when he was given just the same amount of time as the rest of us?
Think of all of the things he did. And how much of that was serving others.
How quick he was to drop everything do what you needed.
In the last month, I’ve called him for rides, I’ve called him to borrow tools, I’ve called him to bring out a hedgetrimmer to the church on short notice, I’ve called him to borrow a vehicle.
And he was there every time, no complaining, just a joy in serving.
How many places did he serve at church? He was no longer an elder, but he had done it for three decades. He was to lead worship on Sunday. He was to lead the prayer meeting on Wednesday. He was serve on the nominating committee this Fall.
I clicked up the heat this morning. And his handwriting is on the thermostat there saying when the battery was last replaced.
And those are just slice.
Everybody here has a story of how he served them.
He was a joy servant of all, and that made him, in Jesus’ eyes, truly great.
That Lord whom he loved to say His name, has greeted him in glory and said to him something like this, "Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master's happiness!'" (Matthew 25:21).
Blair showed us how it’s done.
And it’s our job, we who are left, to follow his example.
Blair was unreplaceable.
Who wants to take his place and do the things he did?
Who wants to fill those shoes? They are too big to fill for any one person.
So, we all need to step up and do it. We all need to become servants like he was.
And be truly great.
Do you need some comfort this afternoon?
Blair believed in the sovereignty of God. That God was in control of all of the details of life.
Including the trials and tribulations of life.
Yesterday, I went through my folder of letters and notes from Blair over the years.
He was always writing me little encouraging notes about things that he was learning, especially if it related to a sermon that I had recently preached.
This one here, wrote on the back of a place-mat from the Bell, the restaurant up there in Kylertown.
At the end he says:
My prayer for you is that you continue to find yourself alive in Christ all through the day and night. Enjoying him in everything we do makes life simply great. For me – just knowing I will never be blind-sided by something that escaped God’s attention gives great confidence. ‘God is good’ seems like such an understatement, but He sure has been good to this child. Love you in Him, Blair.For those of you who need comfort this morning. You’re struggling with how God could allow such a tragedy as we all experienced last Monday.
Blair says to have faith in God’s sovereignty.
“For me – just knowing I will never be blind-sided by something that escaped God's attention gives great confidence.”
Yes, we will be blind-sided. I know that Blair was blindsided last week. And we were all blindside last week. But never by something that escaped our Father’s attention!
Blair’s God is sovereign and that give us all of the comfort we need.
Blair was a truly great man by Jesus’ definition.
And we need to follow his example of serving others.
But Blair would be upset with me if I made this sermon about Blair.
Because Blair was not the name he loved to say.
There was an even more truly great man that Blair would want me to talk about this morning. And that’s the Son of Man from verse 45.
He was the perfect example of servanthood. V.45
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus didn’t come the first time to be served.
He deserved it! If anyone deserved service, it was Jesus.
But He came to be a servant.
Do you remember when he showed that by washing his disciples feet?
But that day, God gave him the blessing of being able to have his feet washed.
And we were acting out what Jesus. Jesus, our Lord, wrapped a towel around himself and acted like a servant as a visual illustration of what he came to do.
He came to serve.
And here’s how he did it–in the extreme.
Jesus gave His life as a ransom.
He died in our place on the cross.
He took our place. He served us by taking our place on the Cross.
And paying our ransom. Paying the debt we had racked up for our sins.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”
That’s the gospel.
And it’s the message that Blair most loved to share.
Blair was a gospel-man. An evangelist.
Blair wanted everyone he knew and everyone he met to know Jesus and trust in His ransom for our sins.
Everybody here has heard Blair talk about the gospel.
Not everyone here has believed that gospel yet.
He was just telling me about people for whom he’s praying to know, trust, and love Jesus.
And to not walk away from Jesus.
He’s been praying for some of you for some time.
Blair wants to see you again and spend eternity with him praising the Savior all the day long.
We know where Blair is.
Do you know that you will be where he is some day?
Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”
Are you part of that “many” who have put their faith and trust in Jesus?
Blair’s death has shaken me deeply.
I am grieving hard because I miss my friend.
But his death can bear much fruit in my life if I consider his truly great example of servanthood and aspire to be like him.
And if I point people to the Savior whose name Blair loved to say.
I invite you to trust in Jesus as your Savior and your Lord.
To put your faith in Him and what Jesus did for you on the Cross. Your ransom paid.
So that your sins are forgiven and you are promised eternal life.
The life that Blair is right now experiencing in full.
Blair invited you and I invite to receive Jesus so that you can sing with Him, “Lord, I love to say your name.”