One aspect of ministry that I have continued to do is funerals. Funerals can be officiated by anyone willing to talk in front of other people. It doesn’t have to be a “professional.” I still do funerals for people that have no church connection and need someone to lead a memorial service.
Funerals are a gift in many ways to the living. We are forced to sit and reflect about the life of the deceased but we are also forced to sit and reflect about our own lives and the direction we are headed. I’m not talking about eternity for the moment but the direction of our current existence on this planet. Our relationships with others. Our time and the management of the years, months or days we have left.
I have sat with hundreds of families that I do not know so that they can tell me about their loved one that has passed away that I also don’t know. Here are some things I have learned.
Not once has anybody talked about a person’s job, title or position at least with any passion. Not once have they talked to me about how much money they had or even how much money the deceased spent on them. I’ve never had anyone talk about educational degrees or the car they drove. Not once has anyone ever brought up how many hours someone worked overtime or how many hours they worked outside of their job. I’ve never heard about the kinds of clothes they wore and how expensive they were or what labels they sported.
Here’s what they talk about. They talk about and remember the person’s loving acts of kindness. They remember them baking cookies and giving them away. They remember them taking time off to spend time with them. They remember family gatherings. They remember the Dad or Uncle that took them fishing. They remember the mom that never forgot a birthday or anniversary. They remember people who listened and who made time for them. They remember caring, kindness and meaningful words.
Somewhere, someday, sometime, someone is going to stand at our funerals and talk about us and the question is what you doing that is going to matter the most. What legacy are you and I leaving behind? What memories are you and I creating that will last in the hearts of those we love? What can we do to truly love? I am searching and it is hard but I am determined to be a better man. Reevaluation is critical and something I’m trying to do daily.
This commercial is probably totally scripted but it is thought provoking.