Note: This was written some time ago at the passing of my Great Grandmother from this life to glory.
Funerals are interesting things. Having only been to two of them, I can’t say that I’m that acquainted with them or that the two are typical of all funerals, but I did learn something from each. The first I can recall was actually called a “Home going Celebration” for the deceased was a warrior for the truth of His Word. This latest one is the one that I wish to focus attention on, though, for I was struck by many thoughts while I sat there.
There are many different types of people at funerals. The first type is the funeral directors. It’s their job to make sure that everything flows smoothly and is nice. They are paid an exorbitant fee which all complain about but are paid nonetheless. They have heard hundreds of challenges, messages, and services and one wonders, since they hear the Word so often, how can they not understand the gravity of death and their need for a Savior. How it must it eat at them to know that their fate will most likely be the same as the corpse they dress up. Yet, it seems they must have to turn a deaf ear, but in judgment they will account for those services they have heard.
Next are the family members. They are in a strange situation, trying not to be too sad while at the same time feeling the loss of the presence of the person. They miss the smile, the encouragement, and even the discipline of the loved one. Or, they are just there because they are family and are expected to be there. It is the latter group that I shall return to in a moment, after addressing the other two.
The visitors and friends of the family make up the next group. They are not so much there to feel the loss or to say “good-bye” as to console the family that remain. They pay their respects, give hugs as needed, and help the family get through the difficult times. The minister falls into this group. He is there to give a message of hope and salvation. “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.”
But of all of these groups, one section my heart goes out to most.
The family members and friends who could care less and who go away from the funeral learning nothing from what has happened and are contented to let one day pass to the next without any thought to their souls and their future. “Just another required meeting,” a disturbance from their day; A chance to sleep through another message, while their opportunity slips away. No time for God or repenting for their sin, they do not understand that in Christ the battle they could win.
It is this group of people, and we all know them quite well. They go through the motions upon request, and they seem to know what to do. The outside is clean, and some find clothes to dress up. They have not worn clothes like that in years, but now they put them on. It’s almost a sad kind of funny to see them try. Why can’t they see it’s not the outside but the heart that counts? They cry and show emotion. Their loved one is no longer there, yet everything that her life has meant, and the miracle worked there is just something at which they laugh and joke! God saved that sinner and could save them too!
I was amazed, the way that they placed my great grandmother’s body it almost looked like she was asleep. It looked like someone could wake her up, if they but nudged her gently. Yet, more dead were these in the crowd who did not hear the call. My great grandmother lives in glory, but they would rather sleep. Their soul is dead in sin; a more sobering reality than the funeral could ever tell.
So as I sat there and walked by to pay my final respects, I think of my great grandmother and now think good-bye for now. I’ll see her again in glory. But as for these that find not the Savior, I’m sad and scared to think where they would go. I pray that they will not have to hear “Too late, sinner. Too late…”
“The most sobering reality in the world today is that people are dying and going to hell today”
-Dr. Bob Jones, III