I did my first funeral as a pastor when I was 19. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, but in that time I’ve seen everything from the comedic to the inspirational to the down right unreal. I’ve actually entertained the idea of writing a book on these experiences because they are just that good, but that’s for another post
I usually just bring a pen and a journal and ask the family to just begin to share. I tell them that I’d like to be a fly on the wall as you remember him or her through stories and descriptive words that come to mind. These meetings are either vastly moving or grotesquely shallow.
When being summed up by those closest to you people can only share what they’ve experienced. Here are two contrasting lists of descriptions from family members of their loved ones:
Unbending integrity He could really eat
Invested in others Had a great golf swing
Very generous with his time and money Made a lot of money
He loved God with all his heart He really loved his boat
He put his family first He cussed like a sailor but he was so funny
One of the most heart breaking tasks I have as a pastor is listen to a family share about their loved one and hear them continually tell me as they share, “you don’t have to put that in there.”
My question to you is this: what do you want said of you after you die?
Most of us want to remembered for higher, nobler qualities: integrity, giving, serving others. We want to be remembered for making a lasting impact on the world we passed through. We don’t want to be forgotten.
But what if the highest comment someone could make about you at your funeral wasn’t about you at all? What if it was about someone else entirely?
Jesus Christ came and lived the life we should have lived, and died the death we should have died on our behalf to save us. The highest compliment someone could ever say of us as they sum up our life would be this, “They were a follower of Jesus.”
More than what family and friends will say about me; the words I’m looking forward to on that day will be Jesus’ words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
Live with those words in mind and you’ll find that people will have plenty of great things to say about you.
Let’s do this: Write one sentence of how you’d want your life to be remembered. Share below.