In 1 Cor 15:6 most of the over five hundred brethren who saw Jesus after his resurrection were still alive when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. However, Paul said, “some are fallen asleep.” Our dear brother, Benny Craft, fell asleep yesterday.
His race is over – Heb 12:1 – we each have our race to run. When he got into the race many years ago, he ran it and never got off the track. He got in his lane and he ran. He finished his course. When a man finishes his race, he quits running. It was great to run down the road with him. And now he’s joined the great cloud of witnesses. We should follow his example on how to run our race well.
His work is done – Heb 4:10 – when you finish your work, you cease from your works and rest. As I saw him lying peacefully after his passing, this thought struck me, “Benny, your work is done.” And then a line from Zion’s Hill came to mind as I sung it to myself, “Someday, our labors will be ended, and all the night of gloom be passed. And all earth’s burdens will be lifted; the day of rest shall dawn at last. Someday beyond the reach of mortal kin, Someday God only knows just where and when, the wheels of mortal life shall all stand still. And I shall go to dwell on Zion’s Hill.” Benny has left a great impression on our lives with his work starting all the way back to the very first meeting in the bunk house. He helped us rent the metal building. He was the general contractor on what’s now the fellowship hall. He worked on the modular buildings. He labored for the church in Montreal, the church in Colorado, the church in Costa Rica, the church in Arizona. He’s touched many of our lives and helped us at many of our houses. He was a director from the very beginning. But he gets to rest now.
His seat is empty – 1 Sam 20:18 – Jonathan said to David, “thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.” This is the hard part for all of us. Benny’s seat will be empty. When Saul and Jonathan died, David wept for them. When Lazarus died, Jesus wept for him; his sisters wept for him; his friends wept for him. And we weep for Benny. There is just no way around the sadness and the sorrow.
His death is gain – Phil 1:21-24 – Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He said, “to depart, and to be with Christ… is far better.” Our loss is Benny’s gain. We shall not deny him the pleasure of his gain. It is far better that he is with Christ.
Conclusion: we’re going to miss Benny terribly, but we must remember something. Our text says, “some are fallen asleep.” When we were saved, we became members of Christ’s body, of his flesh and of his bones, Eph 5:30. We have been raised together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Eph 2:6. When we die, we are absent from the body and present with the Lord, 2 Cor 5:8. We “sleep in Jesus,” [1 Thes 4:14]. When Jesus returns at the rapture, the glorified bodies of the dead in Christ rise, 1 Thes 4:16-18. And as Eve came out of the body of Adam, so we come out of the body of Christ into our glorified bodies. And as Eve was the wife of Adam, so we are the bride of Christ. I’m sure looking forward to the day when we “shall be caught up together with (him) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air,” [1 Thes 4:17].