Lessons From A Funeral
Posted: Monday, September 4
2 Corinthians 7:8-16
Verse of the day:
A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born. Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies— so the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
In Ecclesiastes 7 Solomon gives us some counterintuitive advice: it’s better to spend your time at a funeral than at a party. I’d much rather receive an invitation to a party rather than a funeral, truth be told. Yet upon reflection, I have learned valuable lessons at funerals. Here are the top four lessons that come to mind…
1. It’s possible to waste your life. My intention is not to be blunt but this is reality. Life is precious and short and many people reach their funeral having little to show for the life God gave them. Often I’m asked to do a funeral for someone I didn’t know personally, and when I ask the family what their loved one lived for and what they were most passionate about, many times I get blank stares back. Then, it comes to them…’well, they sure loved watching the Packers!’ If watching sports on TV is the legacy you leave behind, then that’s just sad.
2. It’s possible to leave behind all sorts of broken relationships. This is often revealed in extravagant displays of sorrow and in the open mic time. Extravagant sorrow is often shown when there is a death after years of estrangement or if the last words shared with the deceased were words intended to inflict pain. And if an open mic gets in the hands of a family member who feels they’ve been neglected by their deceased dad or mom or whoever…watch out. The pain and resentment will come out and it often creates an awkward moment for everyone gathered.
3. Taking your own life leaves behind a mountain of pain. Suicide is often regarded as a ‘cry for help’ and then afterwards that person’s suffering is over. God alone is judge and he’ll decide these matters. What I do know is that taking your life devastates the people who love you the most. I’ve come to believe that suicidal thoughts are often demonic and it is never an acceptable option. As follows of Christ we’ve been bought at a tremendous price and it’s not our prerogative to determine our last day.
4. It’s possible to reach your funeral and never develop a relationship with Jesus. It ought to be a sobering thought that we could reach the end of our life knowing we should have a relationship with God and yet never making the time to have a relationship. It actually makes little sense to look forward to Heaven if we have no interest in God now because Heaven is God’s home!
Wisdom comes when I ponder…
One day it will be my funeral.
Who do I want to be on my last day?
What do I want to be true about how I lived my life?
Who do I want at my funeral and what do I want them to say?
What do I want my legacy to be?
We don’t learn these lessons at a party; we learn them at a funeral.