Eulogy for Bob Goodson

Memorial Service

First United Methodist, Opelika, Alabama

September 20, 2004


        The passing of our friend Bob Goodson brings us together to celebrate his life, and to offer our comfort to Marge. Marge, we share your sorrow, and we offer to you our hope in the resurrection.

        The passing of anyone is occasion for us to examine our own lives in the light of what we understand to be the character of God. What do we know about God?

         We know that God is good. Faith enables us to declare to the skeptics: God is good – all the time. The Psalmist’s cry is our own: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever” (136:1). We agree with the Shepherd’s Psalm that “surely goodness and mercy will follow” us all the days of our life.”       We know that God values integrity, or goodness, in his children. Proverbs 10:9 says, “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” When it comes to integrity, none of us may claim perfection, for as Paul said, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Therefore, we are all in need of mercy.

        We are all prone to judge others by their outward appearance while God looks on our hearts. What matters most to God is the inner man, not what may be seen and praised by others. Some of the harshest words of our Lord Jesus were reserved for the hypocrites, those who made a show of their religion while inside, like tombstones, they were full of dead men’s bones. Every one of us, who enjoy wearing our best clothes to church on Sunday -- to be seen of others --  should tremble at the words of Jesus: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

        It will come as a surprise to some, but as welcome relief to us all, that God needs no assistance from us in the judgment of his children. None of us is wise enough, or good enough, to pass judgment on our fellows. We may have our Department of Justice in human affairs, but the Department of Eternal Judgment is in the hands of God alone. That we do well to remember, as we bid farewell to our friend and brother, knowing that like him, each one of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ desiring not justice, but mercy.

        We, who are often quick to condemn, and slow to extend mercy to one another, should look again at the character of God. Frederick W. Faber, the hymn writer, opens a lovely window into the heart of God:
      “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, Like the wideness of the sea;

      There’s a kindness in his justice, Which is more than liberty.

      There is welcome for the sinner, And more graces for the good;

      There is mercy with the Savior; There is healing in his blood.

      For the love of God is broader Than the measure of man’s mind;

      And the heart of the Eternal Is more wonderfully kind.

      If our love were but more simple, We should take him at his word;

      And our lives would be all sun-shine In the sweetness of our Lord.”

        This morning I asked our heavenly Father this question, “Father, what can I say that will comfort Marge, and be of benefit to all who gather to celebrate Bob’s life?” In his kindness, God said, “Look at his name.”



        So I looked at it – Goodson, one word formed from two words: good son. I smiled, for I thought I heard God saying, “No man who wants to be my son will ever be turned away. Every man who ‘confesses with his mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believes in his heart that God raised him from the dead, will be saved.’ Every man who does that will be a good son to me.”

        Over the past 15 years, Bob Goodson graciously affirmed my expressions of faith in Jesus. Many times he sent word to me of his appreciation for what I had said or written. To my wife and me, he was a good friend. Today, I have reason to believe that to his heavenly Father, Bob was a good son.

        Thanks be to God for the life of Bob Goodson. + + + +