James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
Unless the Lord comes back first, you and I have an appointment with death. Just picture imaginary countdown clocks over our heads. With every second that ticks by, we are that much closer to eternity. I say this not to make you sad or to terrify you, but to make you aware—aware that there is coming a day when your loved ones will gather and will sum up your life in about 15-20 minutes. What will be said about you at your funeral?
As a pastor’s wife and someone who has lost several family members, I have seen my share of funerals. I encourage you to attend them as often as you are able. Funerals have the ability to give you renewed perspective on this life and just how short it really is. One particular funeral sticks out to me. A lady from our church passed away shortly after her husband. The church sanctuary was packed. Something happened that day that I had never seen before at a funeral. They opened up the mic for anyone who wanted to speak about this precious lady. Person after person told of memories they had with her. I watched, amazed, as even co-workers from years ago and neighbors stepped forward to speak about her. This lady had lived a life for the Lord and had opened up her arms to anyone and everyone. She saw needs and took care of them. She used every day she had to show the love of Christ. What an amazing testimony.
I began to think – how many of my own neighbors even know my name? Do I take them gifts and minister to their needs? Or am I so consumed with my own little world that I never see outside of it?
Yes, my children are one of my most important ministries, but do I use them as an excuse to not serve the Lord? So many people seem to pause their ministries because of their children and forget that we can do both. I read this great quote recently from Paul Chappell. It said, “God did not design the church and the family to be competing institutions but completing institutions. Don’t use the ministry as a tool against your family, and don’t use your family as a reason to not be involved in ministry.” Remember – our lives are so, so short. We cannot put serving the Lord on the back burner because of our children. Instead, let’s serve the Lord alongside them. Show them what serving the Lord looks like.
I get it. I really do. I’m a mom of 5 kids. At one point, they were all under the age of 5. “The days are long, but the years are short,” as they say. Life is hard sometimes. Really, really hard. It is stressful, messy, exhausting, and sometimes the menial daily tasks can get to us. We often go through each day in survival mode, wishing for the next happy event on our calendar. But keep your funeral in mind. We were not given this life to please ourselves. We were not given this life to fill it with only sports activities and music practices and fun times with friends. Though those things are not inherently wrong, I think we have truly lost our focus. We were given this life to glorify and honor our Savior. How have you, even today, INTENTIONALLY scheduled yourself to further God’s kingdom? To bring praise and glory back to His Name? To spend alone time with Him and His Word? To share His Gospel? To love on others in His Name? We should not only LOOK for opportunities to serve the Lord and others, but we should SCHEDULE them, or as we all know, it probably won’t happen. We often make it a huge deal to get to work or school activities on time, but we treat serving the Lord and church attendance as an option. Our kids can see that. They are incredibly good at picking up on what is important to us and they will often prioritize the exact same things in their own lives.
So when it’s your funeral – will your clean house and your rigid homework schedule and the importance you placed on extracurricular activities be the main things that come up?
What if, instead, you started even right now to prioritize the things of the Lord? What if you woke up each morning and asked the Lord what He wanted you to accomplish for Him today?
Your funeral is coming, friend. Your influence on others will be all that remains. What will be said about your life in that 15 minutes? Will others see your life, not for its many accomplishments or fun places you traveled, but for how you lived a life that pointed back to Christ?
“I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to you enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering. A child of mercy and grace
who blessed your name unapologetically
…and leave that kind of legacy.” (Nichole Nordeman)