The End and the Beginning

Feb 05, 2010

Richard Gotthardt

I was at a funeral the other day, and while I was there I was reminded of the verse which says, “You learn more at a funeral than at a feast– After all, that’s where we’ll end up. We might discover something from it.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2 The Message)  I experienced the truth of this Scripture personally, because being there caused me to once again look at my own life- my priorities, my relationships, the quality of my life as a whole.  I don’t know whether you are naturally drawn to thinking about the trajectory of your life, but let me invite you to do a simple exercise.

Picture your own funeral for a moment- and not in a morbid or macabre tone.  Simply imagine that you are observing your own memorial service.  Who would attend, in addition to family members?  Why would they be there?  And, even more importantly, what kinds of things would they be saying about you?  How would you want to be remembered?

We’ve all been to funerals in which people are eulogized in flattering but somewhat exaggerated terms.  Our reluctance to speak ill of the dead often causes people to pile on a bit when remembering the life of a friend or family member.  But consider what kinds of things you would want to be able to said in complete candor about your life.  How will your life have mattered to others?  What will be your impact?  What words would you want to be true about you?

In the end- and we’ll all have an end to this life- what will matter won’t be how nicely your home was decorated, how much money you made, or even how prominent your accomplishments became.  What will matter will be how deeply and significantly your life impacted others.  Scripture tells us that there are only three things that last forever: God, His Word, and people.  So when we invest our life in another person, we are truly making an eternal investment.  It will matter both now and forever.

But what kind of investment will count in eternity?  Simply this: the kind of investment that helps another person to grow in their love for God and their love for others.  Another term that we often hear used for this kind of investment is discipleship.  Unfortunately, that term often either intimidates or confuses people.  “I can’t do that!  I’m not qualified!”  But let’s stop for a moment and not be quick to count ourselves incapable or unworthy.  Jesus told us that this is the central priority for His followers- to invest our lives in others for their spiritual development and vitality.  He told us that He would help us in this calling and mission, and since He has both all authority and all power, it seems like we should be quite adequately resourced.  Ultimately, we’ve been invited (and commanded) to participate in the only kind of activity that will have results that last eternally.  I simply can’t think of anything that would be more worthwhile or more rewarding.  Can you?

So when you stop and consider your funeral, what do you see?  Are there people there sharing about the investment you made in their spiritual life?  Do you see someone that you introduced to Jesus?  Is there are a legacy of loving others in the name of Jesus?  If you’re not sure that you like what you might see, remember this- it’s not too late to change.  Begin investing now, or perhaps investing more heavily, in the best thing going: the lives of those God has placed in your path.  I promise that you’ll never regret it.

Richard’s Ramblings

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