It seems that over the past few years, funerals and memorial services often prompt Victory Calls. Even while I am still sitting in the pew my thoughts are framing the next Victory Call. They all have the same theme but it bears reminding.
I once heard, years ago, a pastor say that death is a gift to the living because it provides each of us the reminder that life is not forever and that we better be confident of our own ‘after-death’ destination. Humanly speaking, that is a difficult perspective especially when you are the one that lost a loved one.
Recently I attended a memorial service for Pastor John Hibbard. It was the longest service I think I have ever attended but it was a blessing from start to finish.
It started as I greeted the long line of family members. I hugged John’s widow, Carolyn and said, “I loved John” and she responded, “He was easy to love.” First sting: Am I easy to love?
As each of the speakers graced the platform – the story of John’s life unfolded — all of it was a blessing and a challenge to hear. One of the men shared about a book his friend wrote called, “Are you fun to live with?” Second sting: Am I fun to live with?
As I sat and heard retold the beauty, love and faith of “the Rev” I couldn’t help but find myself saying, “They couldn’t say that about me.” That is the crux of why I say, “I hate funerals.” As I attend memorial services for ordinary people that walked with God in extraordinary ways I am reminded I have a LOT of growth left. Third sting: I am not as mature a believer as I like to think.
What that pastor said about death being a gift hits home because I would venture a guess that I was not the only one sitting in that sanctuary thinking about our own life and where we have room to grow.
Then to top it off, the Pastor that gave the message near the end of the service shared this verse: “Better to go to the house of mourning Than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart” Ecclesiastes 7:2 NKJV. Nailed it.
This is probably the third or fourth Victory Call I have written after a memorial service or funeral and NOW I have biblical support for what I have been saying. Funerals give us perspective. Memorial services cause the wise to take heart, to consider their own lives, to reflect. That is a good thing because far too often the house of feasting distracts us from such pursuits.
You are blessed today.
Diane Hunt served for 16 years on the staff of America’s Keswick until recently when she and her husband relocated to North Carolina. She now continues serving as a contributing writer and Partner Care consultant. Diane is also a Biblical Counselor, speaker, teacher, and author. She delights in the opportunities she has as a women’s conference and retreat speaker to share from God’s word. Many of her illustrations are drawn from her relational experiences as a wife, mother, and mema. They are the very relationships that bring her the greatest joy and the most fun!