Extended families tend to be much closer knit in Sri Lanka. So I used to see uncle George reasonably regularly. I used to call him Uncle Furry, 'coz he had a beard. He was relatively wealthy - built an expensive house in the outskirts of Colombo. I liked visiting there - lotsa fun places to play, in the house and gardens. It got burned down in the race riots of 1983.
Uncle George attended church all his life. But on his deathbed, he had no confidence that he was going to see his saviour. Over the 'phone, he kept saying he was frightened of death. My Mum, and the rest of his extended family (he was never married - no wife, no kids), tried to comfort him. They spoke to him of Christ's sacrifice, of the confident hope we can have of glory, of seeing Christ face-to-face.
Didn't seem to work.
Uncle George was too much in love with this world. He loved material possessions, and social status. He was very pleased that he was going to have an ordained minister among his grand-nephews (me...). In fact, in his obituary, he made me a Rev...! I'm not gonna get revved up for two more years...!
It was this love of the world that stopped him from dying well. He had all his treasure on earth, he didn't have anything to look forward to in heaven. No wonder he wanted to stay here, and not go there! He held this world in a strong grip, and help loosely to the next world. No wonder he didn't want to let go!
Uncle George knew the basic message of Christ. I hope to see him in glory. But the fact remains - he was too much in love with this world.
1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world.... 16 For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
ROBERTS - GEORGE RATNAM (former Browns Group Director). Beloved son of late R.M. Roberts and Grace Roberts, affectionate brother of late Samuel, Flora, Victor, Daniel and Edward, brother-in-law of late Anne, Beatrice and of Anula, loving uncle of late Dr Godwin and Sunetha (Australia) and of Dr Godfrey and Rene (US), Dr Patricia and Vasantha Weerakoon (Australia), Dushan and Sharmila, Dushanthi, Rev. Kamal (Australia), Dr Gehan and Amey (Australia). Cortege leaves residence No. 48, Second Lane, Ratmalana at 2.00 p.m. on Saturday 19th April cremation at General Cemetery, Borella at 3.00 p.m.