Some people don’t like funerals, but I do. It’s not because I’m a morbid opportunist but rather I am a realist who has a hope beyond this life because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Funerals have a way of giving us a reality check that we all need from time to time so that we can make necessary adjustments in our lives to live well. We tend to get so caught up with work, family, entertainment & hobbies that we often don’t spend adequate time thinking about what matters most. When someone close to us dies it has a profound way of getting our attention and slowing us down to reflect the important things in life. Funerals help us to do that. The Bible says:
Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies—so the living should take this to heart. Ecclesiastes 7:2 (NLT)
What should we take to heart?
1. The brevity of life. We often presume upon the future making plans as if tomorrow is certain. Our lives here on earth are so short. When we are young and healthy looking forward to our future we may subconsciously think we have forever here in this life on earth. However, the time passes swiftly. Your life is like a vapor (James 4:14).
2. The appointment of death and judgment is certain. The bible says “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). We all have an appointment that we are not going to miss or be late for even if you’re one who struggles to make appointments. 10 out of 10 people die. It’s the ultimate statistic.
3. The necessity of peace with God through Christ (Romans 5:1-2). One of the most important things to consider with the reality of that appointment you have coming is your need for peace with God. This is not something to put off. You and I need peace with God before we stand before God at the judgement. Standing before a judge in the court of law is a very intimating experience, especially when you are guilty and giving an account. And Jesus has provided peace with God for us by taking our punishment for our sins on himself.
4. The reality that Christ is the resurrection and the life. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). This is really good news for us who believe! The grave is not our final destination, Heaven is! And we will be resurrected with Christ living in a world of perfect peace, justice & love. There will be no more suffering, pain, sorrow or death. It will be glorious, beautiful, satisfying and eternal!
5. The importance of love for those around you who are living (Matthew 22:37-40). When it’s all said and done this is what really matters. Did we live our lives in love for God & others.If I were to see a movie of my entire life this is the number one thing I would want to see myself doing, loving God & loving people. We all have scenes where that is not the case and we have lived selfishly in so many ways, yet God is an amazing editor. Because of Jesus He cast our sins as far as the east is from the west. He washed our sins away with the blood that Jesus shed for us at the cross.
6. The urgency of making your life count (Ephesians 5:16, Psalm 90:12) In view of the reality of death let it motivate you to live for what really matters. There are opportunities that you have today that you may not have tomorrow. There people you can reach today with the love & truth of Christ that you may not have tomorrow. Beware of being lulled to spiritual slumber with the comforts, pleasures & entertainment of this life. Your time here in this life is a precious gift. Don’t waste it!
7. The purpose of your life (Isaiah 43:7, Revelation 4:11). Consider the big question of why you are even here alive today. Your loved one just transitioned into the next life but you are still here for a reason. Make sure you know what that reason is and that your living for it.