There is little in the world that sobers my mind as powerfully as attending the funeral of a friend. Today I attended a pleasant and short remembering of a dearly beloved community member who was a relative of my wife. She was 90, and so were most of those in attendance. The scripture reading and Gospel assurance coupled with a wonderful and sobering eulogy truly blessed me. I found myself writing down thought after thought and will be expressing some of those thoughts throughout the weeks to come.
While there are many reasons for focused thinking on the occasion of death, I want to explore a few that hit me today that I had not considered before. For the most part, these are not new ideas or infant learnings, but a list of reminders that gave me comfort. There a many more that I can say, but at the top of my mind are these.
The death of a friend is a great occasion as it reminds me that…
We are all going to die. It’s true. There is not one person alive today who will live forever in their present state. Every living thing is destined for this experience. Sometimes it is good to just remember that life is short. This thought for some is melancholy and macabre, but for me, it is a good reminder to keep what is important in focus.
We are all completely dependent on others. From start to finish other people are working for us whether we know it or not. I don’t sit here today and enjoy electricity and the internet from the ether. Nope, someone else is working for me right now so that I can have these things accessible to me. Even in death, someone else is going to have to prepare my body for the grave. Sometimes it is good to remember that we are not strong, independent people after all.
We are unable to secure the outcome of anything perfectly. This goes without saying, but as we age or become ill, we are shown that are best ideas and energy are laid bare in the face of ability. Not one goal or dream will ever be what we thought it was, so let us keep loosely our ideas. After all, it is written that “if the Lord wills” our plans will come to pass. Even then, there is an end to all things.
Our long-term relationships are the point of intimacy. In everything we choose, there is a cost. There is a trade-off of time, talent, and tangibles required in order to obtain something else. The question for me is am I spending my trade-offs on emotions, thoughts, pity, and foolishness? Or am I spending these precious commodities on relationships that will outlive me? This may not make sense to some, but when it does, it hits pretty hard.
That time together in the mundane is more vital than any powerful mission. It doesn’t matter what we do in the grand scheme of things in comparison to the lives we touch. There is no mission or calling that is ever bigger than the people it desires to help or reach. Sometimes we forget this.
We need to make sure we have a few good friends. In the world of mass voyeurism, we are told that the more people who like or follow us matter. It doesn’t. What matters is that we are loyal and loving to those who call themselves our friends. People constantly change the conditions through which they will interact with or love others. This is nonsense. Even in the worst of times, there is always restitution sufficient for reconciliation. The problem is that most people are just too prideful, or too selfish to care. We have enemies that are blessed by our lives. I hear from them often and these people have become some of my closest friends.
We have hope now, so we can live a life that matters to others. Only those with surety have hope after death. Because of this, we are able to live life to the fullest in the service and friendship of other people. The Bible teaches about this in every New Testament instruction, and no matter what you may believe, the teaching is sound. Those who are older are to guide and teach the younger, not the other way around. With true hope, we are able to invest in lives worth molding who will listen. We don’t have to cater to the fear, anxiety, and nonsense of this world. We can live a life that matters to others by keeping our focus on our hope. After all, if we are believers in the teaching of Scripture, there is little in this world that will ruin our joy. God doesn’t cause us to change and do things that are profitable, He teaches us what is and because of our HOPE in His gospel, we are constantly reminded of His promises, and thus, our lives can be molded into meaningful lights that shine in the lives of others.
Our “light” is not gone if we have a true impact on those who remain. When it is all said and done. The WHO we are will live on in the lives of those we loved and served. Even if only one, it is enough. It is not about being a friend to the masses, it is about being a true friend to someone. What LIGHT will be shining from those you leave behind? What have you planted in the lives of your community that will outlive you?
Now, the meaning of life is not found in humanity. For me, it is found in the God-Man Jesus Christ. Yet, even if you find yourself unsure of this, the reality of how we live to serve other people is something that no one can deny as a great and glorious purpose. How much more so when we know the maker of it all?
I digress. I’m tired. I have more to say… maybe tomorrow.