Donald Irvin “Don” AustadAge: 73 years1926–2000
- Donald Irvin “Don” Austad
- Given names
- Donald Irvin
March 2, 2000
Scriptural Sentence: 1 Cor. 16:13,14
Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done with love.
Hymn # 10 How Great Thou Art
We have gathered this morning to worship God and to celebrate the life of Don Austad. A good man. A strong and courageous man. AND, a man who did everything from a heart of love. Don Austad was a man whose influence and friendship was extraordinary. We’ve come to honor a husband of 49 years, and loving father, grand-father and great-grandfather, and a kind brother.
(To the family) Lavonne, & family, we pray that today we can represent God’s love to you, and that you will feel God’s embracing love, today and in the days and months ahead.
(To the congreg.) We have come to offer our love and support to those who mourn, and to lift them before the Lord in prayer. Let us pray.
Father, we bow before you this morning to thank you for the life of a wonderful, wonderful man. Lord, thank you for the years that you gave him on this earth. Thank you for the memories that those years with us have given. Memories that will be cherished for as long as we live. We thank you too, Lord, that Don’s journey here on this earth is now over, and his life with you - a life that will never end - has begun.
We ask you to comfort Don’s family. We lift Lavonne before you. She’s been a good wife and mother. We know she has pleased you as she has served her husband and family faithfully through the years. So we ask you to give her a new sense of strength and courage to face the challenges that lay before her in the days ahead. Surround her with people who will minister Your love to her.
And Lord, we commend to you Don’s sons and daughters. You’ve told us in your word that children are a rich heritage from you and blessed are those whose pride is in their parents. We know that all of the children you gave to Don and Lavonne are so proud of their Dad. So we ask now, that you would be pleased to comfort them as only you, our heavenly father, can do. We ask you to comfort and strengthen the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You’ve told us grandchildren are a beautiful crown to those who have them. Comfort them, we pray, and draw them ever nearer to your side.
We ask that you will grant Don’s brothers and sisters precious memories to sustain them. In their loss, increase their faith.
Grant each of the family, the assurance of your presence, today and every day. Grant them your peace. We pray in your precious, holy name. Amen.
SOLO Amazing Grace
Scripture Psalm 15
SOLO Beyond the Sunset Louise
1 Corinthians 13, Eph 5:25, 1 Peter 3:7
These passages of scripture may seem a little odd for a funeral service. But I’ve learned something very clearly in the past few days. Something that makes these scripturesmore appropriate for today, than any other. I’ve learned, above all else, Don was a man of love. He loved his wife. He loved his family. And he loved the people in his community.
Today we celebrate the life of one who fulfilled the ideal that Paul talks about in 1 Cor. 13. You see, Don did a lot for people. He was always willing to pitch in and help somebody. He DID all kinds of things. From serving on the city council to taking time out of this day to help a certain postal carrier install carpet in her jeep to make it more comfortable. Don DID all kinds of things. But it wasn’t the DOING that made Don the man that he was. It was, just as Paul says, that Don did what he did, with love. Not a sentimental kind of love. Paul, in this text, has a lot of muscle and depth to his words. Don was a hard worker in the art of caring and loving.
That’s why this church is full this morning. That’s why we’re fighting back the tears. Because Don knew how to love. And he did it. Don appreciated the gifts given to him by God.
I read earlier from Psalm 15. It asks who can worship in the sanctuary of the Lord. And we’re told those who worship are those who keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who speak the truth with a heart of love.
You see, Don didn’t go to church very much. But he worshiped in the sanctuary of God’s love. And while I would have loved to have seen Don every Sunday sitting where you’re sitting, the plain truth of the scripture says that you can have faith, you can have hope, but all it is, is a bunch of noise if you don’t have love. Why?
Why all this talk about love? One simple reason. Because God so loved the world. God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever would believe in him, would not die, but would have eternal life. God’s love is what motivated Him to provide us with the possibility of salvation. With the possibility of eternal life.
When Jesus was here on earth he said that the greatest thing we could do on this earth was to love. Love God, love our neighbors. Love as God loved us. We’ll never achieve that here on this earth, but every now and again, it seems somebody comes close. When we love somebody, when we love each other, it’s a gift of God. We heard last night how Don loved his neighbor. He did what probably every one of us here wish we could do more of. And what everyone of us WILL wish we had done when we face death. We’ll wish we’d taken more time. Time to love. Time to listen. Time just to be with one another. We heard last night how Uncle Don was always busy in the shop. But if you took the time to go to the shop, you’d find - he wasn’t really doing anything - at least not by this world’s standards. But by God’s measure, he was doing the most important thing of all. He was spending time with someone. Showing that someone, whether it was a brother, a son or a friend, - showing them that they were important enough to just spend time with.
There’s only one way we can truly love somebody. It’s when we have God’s love in our heart. I believe, in his own way, Don knew God’s love. But for all that Don did, for all the love he showed, the Bible says greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for another.
Jesus did that. His love was so great that he died on a cross so that through HIS love, we could learn to love. So that through HIS love, we could have eternal life. At the end of his life, Don knew, - he knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that there was no other way to eternal life. Today, he’s in heaven. He spent his whole life sharing God’s love with others. At the end of his life, he accepted God’s grace and love for himself.
Don loved his family. I know that. He loved his wife. That’s why I read a couple of those scripture verses that I did. You see, scripture tells us if a man truly loves his wife, his prayers will be heard. God heard Don’s prayers. And he took him home to be with him, when he was tired. When he didn’t want to have to fight anymore.
Don wanted to go home, and I believe he was, in the end, ready to go.
Think of stepping on the most beautiful shore you’ve ever imagined,
And finding it’s heaven’s shore.
Think of taking hold of the most gentle hand you’ve ever touched,
And finding it’s God’s hand.
Think of breathing new air, and finding it’s celestial air,
Of feeling energized, and finding it’s immortality.
Think of passing from weariness and battle,
to perfect peace.
Think of falling asleep, Only to awake and find you’re home.
I want to share one story with you that Lavonne shared with me, because it’s touched my heart so deeply. Before Don went to the hospital this last time, he and Lavonne were sitting in their easy chairs, just spending time together. Don reached out and held her hand. And after a moment or two, he just looked over at her and said, “It’s kind of nice just to sit here and hold hands, isn’t it?”
Somebody told me that Don always used to say, “I’ve got the best wife in the whole world.” That’s love - real, godly love.
Don loved you - the people he came to know over the years. I know that. Jesus loves you. I know that too. I know from the big bear hug that Don gave me when I visited him, that he longed for us to know how much he loved us. And I say to you this morning, and to Don’s beloved family - That love will last forever. There are three things that will endure - faith, hope, and love - but the greatest of these is love.
Let us Pray:
Oh Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Help us to learn more clearly than ever before how to love one another. Remind us, through the memories of Don that we all have, that love is the greatest gift of all as we live on this earth. Then Lord, in your mercy, grant us a safe home and a holy rest, with peace at last, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn: # 141 The Old Rugged Cross
Now may the grace of the Father, the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, be with you all. Amen.