Funerals and memorial services always make me thoughtful and introspective.
Today I attended a service honoring a good and godly man who died about a week ago. I didn’t know him very well, but we went to the memorial service to honor his family and to give God glory for his life. It was very inspiring to hear and see how many lives he touched, and what God had done through him.
A pastor I know often says: “I hate performing weddings. Nobody listens to your homily, and it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Funerals, now, there’s where you have a chance to get people’s attention.”
I was very reflective on the drive home. The man who died was about 12 years older than me, and I thought about how easily it could have been me, especially considering my bout with kidney cancer about 18 months ago. I think it is very good for a man to be reminded of his mortality.
Our church was founded in the early 1920s, but one portion of it was added-on in 1965. Apparently someone thought that was worth remembering, because they stamped the date in concrete. You can find it at the foot of the stairs, at one of the corners of the building. Since then, thousands of souls have worshiped in that building and have benefited from the use of it, in body, heart, mind and soul.
Coincidentally, I was born in 1965, and I wonder what difference I have made to the world or to God’s kingdom in those years? Have I been a useful building in the Church, or am I more like a shed that stores obsolete lawn equipment and forgotten tools? There are a handful of souls that I helped to cross from death into life, but I admit I am greedy for more. How can I be more faithful to God? How can I get out of the way for His faithfulness to shine through my life?
One theme that I noticed in the memorial service is that the man who died was one who deeply sought to know God. Interestingly enough, that was a major part of our discussion in Sunday School today — do I seek God for His blessings, or do I seek a deeper knowledge of Him, and how to please Him? It can get tangled, because as we seek God and know more of Him, we start to act in ways that are more pleasing to Him, and then He blesses us (since many of His blessings are conditional). But which is first in my heart, the love for God’s blessings, or my love for Him?
Being reminded of death makes me thoughtful, but not necessarily any wiser.
Project 365, Day 137