“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart.” -Ecclesiastes 7:2 CSB
One of my favorite things about my husband is his love for Old Testament scripture and the obscure verses he clings to. He loves the book of Job and Ecclesiastes. He shared Ecclesiastes 7:2 with me last week as we discussed Game of Thrones, which led us to a remarkable article by John Piper. On Desiring God, John tells us, “The closer I get to death and meeting Jesus personally face-to-face and giving an account for my life and for the careless words that I have spoken (Matthew 12:36), the more sure I am of my resolve never intentionally to look at a television show or a movie or a website or a magazine where I know I will see photos or films of nudity. Never.” This got my mind wandering.
What does it mean to live with my own death in mind? How would that change the way I approach the world, if I let my own funeral affect my actions? Now, of course, no one knows when their time will be up. Today, my timer could run out. The Lord could call me home tomorrow, next week, next year, or in 50 years. I’m not talking about watching the clock run out. I’m talking about the end of every man. And we will all one day lay in a casket. (More than likely… though I pray frequently for the return of Jesus.)
When I live with my funeral in mind, I am resolved to hold my babies a little longer. I think I’ll spend a bit more time enjoying the things they enjoy with them. I’ll spend more time being silly, loud, rough, and goofy. I’ll be a bit more patient when they play with the toothpaste yet again or color in my bible. We’ll absolutely have more cookies and Cheetos. Because when I am gone, I want them to remember me being fun, being gracious, giving an abundance of love.
I am resolved to give my husband more room to just be himself. I know that if my husband beats me to Heaven, one day, I will miss him leaving the cabinet doors open or coffee mugs randomly placed throughout the house. I know I will be so grieved the day I don’t have to buy Ritz peanut butter crackers during my weekly grocery run. So I’ll spend my time with him being silly, laughing a little more, extending grace, being his steady when everything else seems chaotic. I want him to miss me in the small things when I’m gone. In the little places we found joy.
I am resolved to give. When you live with the end of your life in mind, you realize how your time is also a finite resource. My time is going to be spent on something. So I’m going to spend my time serving the kingdom, pouring into something much more eternal than myself. I’m going to spend my time pouring myself into those around me, laying my own self down so that others can see Christ in me.
I am resolved to let things go. I want to be a forgiving person and a forgiven person. I want my record of wrongs to be short, and I want to live with the knowledge that it’s not all about me. I want to not take myself so seriously. I want to be able to laugh at myself, be challenged, be intentional, be engaged. I want to be gracious above all else, remembering just how broken I am when I deal with other broken people.
When I think about how I will stand before my Creator and give an account for my life, I think of how I don’t want to answer for being short with my kids or my husband. I don’t want to have to explain the television I watched or the profanities I used.
I want to say to my God, “Once I knew you, I was at the end of me.”
So with my funeral in mind, I say, “more of you, God, less of me.” I want my life to mimic the One who gave His life to serve and love those made in God’s image. I want my life to be marked by Jesus life. I want people who knew me before I knew Him to see the difference He has made in me, and give Him all the glory. God, I have nothing to offer you except my life. Would you please use it?
Because God has allowed death to be a part of each one of our stories, we can trust that He can bring beauty to our end. He can bring meaning to our end. He can grow His kingdom through our end. We can be sure that we will all walk through the doorway of death one day. What will you do differently today living with your funeral in mind?