What do you want said about you at your funeral?
If you were to die today, does your potential eulogy share the message that you want people to hear? Or is it lacking something?
These were the questions that we were contending with today as a small group. Thankfully, nobody died that brought these about.
We were doing our Not a Fan study about how to become a follower of Jesus and this came up. You see, the study comes with this DVD series that basically looks at the impact one man, who died suddenly had on his family and friends and the greater community. He made a very significant change to follow Jesus and literally did a 180. He stopped compromising his values and started giving all of himself to others out of love. Today’s video portrayed his impact on his daughter, but also went to the funeral where we heard from many people he affected. Though this was a fictional portrayal, it was moving how much one person can do when they give themselves wholeheartedly to Christ and act in true love. The Kleenex box was passed around… And around.
Several of the discussion questions rotated around a Matthew 7:13-14, talking about the choice of path we take. We discussed faith and works and how we all agree that Biblically, we are saved by faith alone. But, if our faith is tried and true, we, out of our love for Jesus and His power in our lives, will be driven to do works.
We also talked about how overwhelming the things happening in this video were. This man downsized. Quit a good job because it was compromising ethics and beliefs. Worked at a shelter and gave his time and money to everyone who was in need around him. His family even took in a young teen who was pregnant after her family ostracized her. We collectively (I think) felt overwhelmed. We could not do those things. It was too much.
But was it?
We talked about how at funerals; we often hear nice things about people. How sometimes those things aren’t so true.
This will sound harsh, but this one time, I was at a funeral and almost laughed out loud. The pastor was talking about the kind and giving spirit this person had, how they blessed those she spoke with, how beloved she was. Now, I knew her well. She was not kind or giving and she was harsh and nasty. Yes, she is still a person. But one doesn’t talk about how she yells at people and is mean. That isn’t nice.
We don’t talk ill of the dead. We shouldn’t speak ill of anyone. Everyone has some inherent good. Even if I don’t see it myself.
But, when we die, will they speak well of us because it is the right thing to do or will people want to share what we spoke into their lives. Our witness. Our faith.
That is what came out of our discussion. If we were to die today, there are things we would want said in our eulogies that would not be said. There are things we have not yet done. We are not living our lives in the way we would want to be remembered.
I’m not saying we are collectively a group of 20-somethings who are unsatisfied with our lives. I am saying that we are realizing that we are not striving to be as much like Jesus as we could. We don’t always put ourselves out there. We don’t always go above and beyond.
Then again, we also talked about how sometimes the small things we do, the things we think are nothing can become big things.
I remember this little old lady I met in the hospital cafeteria before my nuclear medicine interview in first year university. She sat with me because there were no other free seats. She told me her husband was very sick and dying, that she was tired and stressed. Then, she asked why I was there. I told her. She smiled at me and said that was wonderful and I would be a wonderful doctor some day. She said I should trust where God is leading me. Then she had to leave. It was odd. I didn’t get why she said that. I was training to be a technologist. Lo and behold, what she said to me has stuck with me all these years. She will never know. At least not here on earth.
We talked about planting seeds in people’s lives. How sometimes small things like saying “hello” to strangers or sharing a book or holding a door can make big differences. How simple conversations can make huge changes that you never know about.
We came to the realization that some of what we want to be said of us is taking place in our day to day lives. We don’t have to be superheroes. We aren’t God. But, there is always room to grow.
We aren’t perfect. We will never be perfect. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can grow and change and become more Christ-like. We can do the things that we want in our eulogies.