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Looking for a good funeral to attend‘¦

December 8, 2009 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

One of the blessings of pastoring a church made up of a younger crowd is that the number of weddings I officiate over the course of a year greatly outweighs the number of funerals. In my pastoral career, I have actually only officiated one funeral, while playing a part in three others. A verse that I’ve found appropriate to share on at funerals, no matter if the deceased was a committed Christian or not, is Ecclesiastes 7:2, which I’ve listed above. It’s a simple verse, reminding us that every life ends in death, and that we would be wise to live in the light of that. “Begin with the end in mind,” as Stephen Covey puts it in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Given that one day your life on this earth will be no more, how would you want to be remembered? And how should you be living today in order to make that goal a reality?

I was reminded of this verse these past couple of weeks as I heard the news that Matt Chandler, an excellent young (if 35 is still young) pastor/preacher from Texas had collapsed due to a seizure and was found to have a tumor in his brain. Knowing that he was going to have brain surgery that could radically alter his life, Pastor Chandler was given a unique opportunity to share about how this experience was shaping his faith. I would encourage you to watch the brief (4:45) video that was shared with his congregation last Sunday, where Pastor Chandler is able to speak to the goodness of God in the midst of a potentially life-threatening experience. I would also encourage you to listen to some of Pastor Chandler’s other sermons if you have the chance.

I heard recently about a pastor who likes to take walks in cemeteries, because it reminds him to keep that final destiny in mind. It may seem weird, to consider it “better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting”; after all, most young people are looking for the best party on a given weekend, rather than scanning the obituaries for the best funeral to attend. But we would be wise to heed the words of the writer of Ecclesiastes, that we need regular reminders that while the parties and feasting may bring joy to our lives, we must also remember to live for what really matters, for we will not be in this body forever. Above all else, we must ensure that we are right with God, that we have received the salvation He offers us and are experiencing His eternal life through Jesus.

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