I had a funeral visit this morning; now, I find that such visits fall into three categories a) those that are incredibly difficult because either the person wasn`t popular or the person I`m visiting is too upset to say much, or because of tragedy, or even on some occasions because they simply don`t want you there ! b) and those that are incredibly enjoyable because the family have good memories and want to share and laugh with you. c) the third category are those you have known to be Christian and you can be certain of eternal life for them. These are hugely celebratory occasions despite the grief and the tears.
Well, this morning certainly fell into category b and we spent an enjoyable hour and a half laughing at some of the things that the deceased got up to, his enjoyment of a flutter on the horses, his love of his family, his protectiveness towards them and so on. The family gathered to share all these memories of Dad and it was a real privilege to be there.
However it set me thinking………….. What will people say about me when my family gather to share info in readiness for my funeral ? What will my friends say about me to each other ? What will my churches say when they hear about my death ? Will it be “well, he was a man who tried his hardest.” “he loved his family” or will it be simply a list of dates and not a lot else ?
We all say that we don`t care what others think of us but in reality we do care, and that is why many Christians don`t speak more openly about their faith. In a meeting the other night someone asked why don`t we fill our churches and then answered his own question by pointing out that churches are often not filled with people living christian lives ! He was spot on. If more of us would yearn after holiness, righteousness and the mind of Christ (without being pious and `holier-than-thou`) then our lives would be attractive to others and our faith would be shown more clearly.
What do I want people to say after I`ve gone ? A Newcastle supporter, a Coronation Street fanatic, a pantomime clown in loud waistcoats, or someone with the `hots` for Tina Turner ?
No, I want them to speak of how much I love my children and how I have always done the best I could for them, of how I love my wife with everything I`ve got and my immense pride in my whole family. I hope that they`re able to speak of my desire to be helpful to all people, approachable, someone who laughed loud and long and usually at himself, someone who enjoyed the silly side of life because he didn`t take himself too seriously. These are the things I hope people can say with honesty, BUT the greatest thing I hope they can say is that here was a man of Christ, a disciple, a follower, a proclaimer of the gospel and someone who desired righteousness and holiness despite his own faults for that’s what I try to be like.
Often get it wrong and that’s why I give thanks for a Saviour who loves me enough to offer me total forgiveness and because He has died on the cross for me I want to be His for ever in all I do and all I say.
p.s. I`m not planning on going just yet !