Not for a romantic weekend or vacation getaway, but my husband and I recently drove over three hours to spend two days attending funerals. The three funerals at three different churches honored one God as they remembered the lives of three amazing Christians. As unique as each person was, so were their celebrations of life. Although different in style and content, each pastor’s message focused on Jesus.
The pastor at the first funeral was a personal friend of the pastor’s wife who had died. He gave a unique message that included many quotes from the deceased woman herself. L and her husband had previously completed plans for their funeral services. She had written a message for friends and family to be read after her death. After she explained the most important decision of her life—to accept Jesus as her Savior at age nine—she encouraged everyone to do the same. The pastor described the difference Jesus made in L’s choices of “worship instead of worry, prayer instead of panic, and faith instead of fear.” Presented after her death, L’s heartfelt personal message resonated with those gathered for the service.
At the second funeral we attended that day, the pastor spoke about the deceased man’s legacy. D had a list of noble accomplishments: caretaker for his first wife who died of a debilitating disease, loyal husband to both wives, and loving father and grandfather. After some humorous anecdotes, the pastor focused on D’s most important legacy as a Christian. Reading Bible passages from Romans, the pastor presented why and how to follow Jesus. When D’s two children sang a beautiful duet about going home, the song reinforced that D had gone home to be with Jesus in heaven.
The next day’s funeral focused on a 98-year-old man who had lived a full life and died suddenly. J loved God and his family, a lifestyle that everyone around him recognized and respected. The funeral sermon was an expository teaching on John 21, when Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection. Out on a boat in the water, the disciples had fished all night but caught nothing. Jesus yelled from the shore, instructing them to put their nets out one more time. Then He blessed them with a miracle. The disciples caught so many fish that they could not haul the net back into the boat. Realizing that it was Jesus on the shore, Peter jumped into the water. The pastor pointed out that, unlike most fishermen, Peter turned his back on the catch of his life and pursued Jesus as his priority.
How meaningful to share in these funerals and the assurance of eternal life for each of these three precious people! Despite the sorrow experienced by grieving family and friends, each service honored God and presented the truth of Jesus Christ. What a blessing to grieve with hope and to know that eternal life awaits those who believe in Jesus.