4 Things I Learned from a Funeral

I was reminded by Facebook this morning that it was seven years ago today that I preached my father’s funeral. As you may imagine, this has me in an introspective mood today. In my reflection here are a few things I learned from my father’s funeral:

  1.  Time is short

By this I don’t mean it’s time to panic. But I realize how short a lifetime actually is. I’m amazed at how quickly seven years has passed. I thought this morning, “it’s already been seven years?!” As a matter of fact, I’m amazed at how quickly forty-six years has passed—that’s how old I am if you’re wondering. For my father, I think the sixty-nine years he lived went quickly too. I realize that if I want to live a life that matters, if I want to reach my goals and dreams, and if I want to see God work in and through me, that work needs to begin…now.

  1.  What you do matters more than you think.

After my father’s passing, my family and I were surprised by something. Being semi-retired, my dad worked at Gold’s Gym in the town where he and my mother lived. What we didn’t know, until his funeral, was that he was making an impact at the gym—a big one. Working early in the morning, opening the gym, building relationships, and apparently, counseling, helping, and loving on the clients of the gym became his new, semi-retired normal. I’m convinced by the outpouring and comments of so many at dad’s funeral that dad was making a bigger impact than he ever dreamed. And that impact affected us, I’m sure, more than he ever dreamed.

  1.  Everyone leaves a legacy

You and I will leave a legacy. Period. Most of the time we think that someone leaves a legacy because they’ve done or left something positive. But legacy happens whether positive, negative, or neutral. Legacy is shaped by what’s important to us and how others have been impacted by our lives—or if there’s been no impact at all. If you and I want to leave a positive legacy, a legacy that our children and grandchildren are proud of, and a legacy that impacts the world for something greater than us—for me that’s the Gospel—the work of leaving that legacy has to be deliberate. Good legacies don’t happen by accident.

  1. Eternity matters

Now, to my father, eternity is all that matters. Spending years in the pastorate, I observed people learning and living this realization a lot. When a loved one is gone from this life, the next life is all that matters. That’s why it’s imperative to live your life in light of eternity, because eternity is coming—quickly. Who determines eternity? What will eternity look like? How is eternal destiny determined? These are questions we do not want to leave unanswered until our death bed. My dad didn’t have a perfect life, and he wasn’t a perfect person; but, his eternal destiny was set. By faith. I miss my dad but I know where he is.

Luke 12:32

Soli Deo Gloria

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