A Funeral Better than a Feast?
Last week, my wife Regina called me to tell me her Uncle Bob died. He was old and full of years, and had been sick a long time. But it was still hard and sad to hear that he had passed away. I thought of his wife Sue and his Daughter Tammy, and I was sad. Even now, I tear up a bit. So Friday we gathered up our things for an overnight stay, gathered up our 15 year Son, and 23 year old Daughter, and drove to Lexington, KY. We got there late Friday night, but Aunt Sue, Tammy, and many other family members stayed an extra 45 minutes past the end time of the viewing to greet us and mourn with us.
The next day, we had the funeral. Uncle Bob’s Sister Charlotte gave a eulogy. It was one of those that told a number of heartwarming stories that were funny and charming. Others told stories about Bob too. It warmed your heart. Uncle Bob was an engaging man. You had to notice he was in the room. And this is perhaps the most important part; we heard people say: “He touched people’s lives.”
And of course, it made you think about your own life. It made you reflect on what you do with your time. It made me think about what my purpose is. How do I touch people’s lives? Do I? When life is over, what will I have accomplished? Will people say: “He touched people’s lives”? And will it be in a good way?
Ecclesiastes Chapter 7, verses 1 to 4 says, “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.”
Really? The day or our death is better than the day of our birth? Better to go cry with people in a house of mourning, than to go to a party and have a feast? Sorrow better than laughter?
Well, think about how your heart feels after a funeral. You went and paid your respects. You hugged loved ones. You saw people you hadn’t taken the time to see in a while. You told stories. Maybe you created some new stories.
The key part of the scripture for me is: “for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” Reflecting on where my life is headed helps me do course corrections. It helps me value what I have: family, home, and health. You may or may not have those blessings. But the biggest blessing is salvation in Jesus Christ. That’s the most important thing to have when you die. How else will I escape the grave? Not by money, or intelligence, or fine dress, or by athletic ability.
So don’t hesitate to go to a funeral. Go, cry, hug, reflect, repent, and make sure you're baptised and saved by Jesus.