Funeral of Glenn Halpain
God gave us the gift of memory
so that we can have roses in December and snow in July. Glenn
will always be alive in our memories. At times when we feel
lonely, we can sit back and recall the happy companionship we
have had with a true friend or loved one in times past.
If I can leave behind me here and there
A friend or two to say when I am gone
That I had helped to make their pathways fair,
Had brought them smiles when they were bowed with care,
The riches of this world I'll carry on.
If only three or four shall pause to say,
When I have passed beyond this earthly sphere,
That I brought gladness to them on a day
When bitterness was theirs, I'll take away
More riches than a billionaire leaves here.
I think Glenn left this
world with more riches than a billionaire leaves here.
He helped make many pathways fair when others were bowed down
with care. He left this world with many deeply appreciative for
A man of many companions may
come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks
closer than a brother. NIV
Glenn often introduced me as his brother, Jim. It wasn’t a
spiritual title; he adopted me as a fleshly brother. But in many
respects he was closer than a brother. I have known
Glenn and valued his friendship for almost thirty years. I have
literally moved from coast to coast, but we have always kept in
touch. Sometimes Glenn and Oberia visited church where I
preached, but I was never their minister, we were just friends.
To me that was much better than just being his minister or
pastor, although I baptized Glenn and Oberia about three years
ago. He called me and told me they wanted to be baptized. They
drove up that weekend and I baptized both of them. My wife and I
As I talked to Glenn that day, I realized that Glenn
wasn’t looking for a church doctrine to embrace, he was looking
for forgiveness—he was looking for God. As a child his
family was affiliated with the church of Christ, although he had
attended different churches over the years. Over the years he
had talked to me about different church doctrines concerning
salvation, but he finally realized his need to come to grips
with his own personal salvation. I think over the years he had
sought to embrace several church doctrines, but had never really
come to grips with his personal need of forgiveness. He
indicated to me on that day that he had always wondered if God
could forgive him. I saw that he was coming to grips with his
own forgiveness. It was because he was beginning to come to
grips with his own mortality.
Life is always lived backwards as we learn by experience. What
we have learned by the time we reach the sunset years is what it
seems we should have known at 15 or 25. Glenn was like most of
us. If he could have gone back in life with the wisdom he gained
over the years, he would have done many things different. I
think we as Christians call this repentance.
Of course, we are never given a chance to live life over--live
is not lived backwards.
However, living life over is not the key to life. The key is
discovering God’s forgiveness despite all the hurt you have
inflicted upon others, or others have inflicted upon you.
Glenn made a statement to me years ago that I haven’t forgotten
“Time wounds all heals,” although in time I saw him reach a
point where he realized that God heals all wounds—those wounds
you have received and those you have inflicted. When we discover
healing for either--we discover how to love as though we have
never been hurt. I think Glenn was discovering this aspect of
life in his last days.
I read where someone defined mercy as “tenderness of heart that
disposes a person to overlook injuries or to treat an offender
better than he deserves.” As Glenn’s friends we realize that he
often treated us better than we deserved. He was a man on a
mission of mercy.
The Glenn I knew exemplified mercy to others. He had a heart of
gold. He lived in the realization that it was more blessed to
give than to receive. The quality of his life was defined by how
he was always willing to give of himself. Glenn didn’t
always buy the best of things for himself—he always reserved the
best he had for those he sought to help. Glenn gave
people money as though he didn’t need it himself. For that he
was richly blessed.
Glenn gave people
cars, food, money, housing, and paid college tuition for kids he
knew to attend college. If he saw someone struggling, they
didn’t have to ask for help. He had discovered the truth that it
was more blessed to give than to receive.
I have told my wife on numerous occasions that God blessed Glenn
with finances because he was so willing to bless others with
what God had given him. I truly believe this was the key to
Glenn always having enough. This is the key to financial success
in God’s order of things.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy. NIV
Glenn and I had a conversation about how he sometimes offered
help only to be taken advantage of. I told him that it really
didn’t matter how some take advantage of us; what matters is our
motivation in giving. He gave it for the right reason even if it
was used wrongly. Our motivation is what God accepts regardless
of how it is received. Proper motivation is what God rewards.
Glenn was always rewarded. He really left this world richer than
I thought Glenn would never make it out of the hospital last
April. When he got out I told him that I believed God had given
him a reprieve from death because of all of our prayers. I ask
him to make sure he made the best of his reprieve. You see,
Glenn knew he was at the end of the road. He sold his shop at
Whitten; he got rid of his tools. I believe he would have moved
Oberia back to Kentucky within a year.
Glenn and I talked about heaven after he got out of the
hospital. I told him that if we missed heaven this life will
have been in vain. He sincerely agreed. Glenn was relinquishing
his hold on this world because he was looking toward eternity.
He gave himself to Oberia. She never had to worry about
anything. He was always buying her flowers and special cards. He
was a devoted husband.
I will miss calling Glenn in the mornings when I am headed to
the office as I often did. I will miss speaking to him by phone
on weekends. I will miss not being able to keep in touch.
However, Glenn is more alive than he has ever been. May we all
join him in a better world some day?
Our Father, we come before you
on this occasion acknowledging that you are the help and
strength of all who put their trust in you. You are the Maker of
all things. Time and the destinies of men and women are in your
hands. We bow to your greatness and sovereignty. We ask that you
would comfort and strengthen those of us here today who mourn
the passing of this loved. In Jesus' Name. Amen.