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Funerals and saints

Ravi Zacharias told of two brothers, the one was very rich and the other was very mean. The mean one died and the rich one offered the minister a large sum of money if he would say in the funeral sermon that his brother was a saint. At the funeral service the minister recited a long list of sins the departed brother did, adding at the end," But compared to his brother, he was a saint." That is just a story (I think). I do know that rock music and silly sentimental songs are becoming the American norm at many funerals. But I hope any minister who even pretends to be Christian will say a good word about Jesus Christ. I enjoy doing weddings, but usually sense that I had more impact at a funeral. I think that is because it is easier to get a divorce than to raise the dead. Therefore people are more likely at a funeral to be open to a word from The Lord, with his attitudes also. So it is especially important then for the speaker to speak the very words of God, and not our words, no matter how much of a saint we think we are. How do we know the difference? Isaiah says to us that the words of God are not our words nor are his thoughts our thoughts, but they are higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth.

We replace our words and attitudes with those of God by reading the Bible and by praying to understand and to apply them in particular situations. Basically the message of the Bible is to get saved and to live a holy life. It is necessary to be supernaturally drawn to Jesus Christ, to accept his gracious offer of salvation, and then to live a holy life for him, and to repent when we do not. At funerals, weddings, and during our every day lives, we are as Christians to say a good word about Jesus Christ whenever possible

"Preach the gospel; when necessary use words." That statement rightly urges us to practice what we preach by holy lives. But we must sometimes use words or we and not Jesus Christ will get the glory for anything we achieve. He says, " I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by me." So it matters a great deal whether we point others to Jesus Christ or not. At a funeral or perhaps at some other life altering event, the person beside us may be open to hear the good news of him. But are we as Christians open to be used by God to speak his words with his attitudes? We will not be when we live for ourselves and our comfort and pleasure and status. We will be, after we are converted, and are broken, repenting, and walking in the light of Jesus Christ.

Frankly, I have seen some but very few conversions and people growing in grace through my life. Perhaps if I saw more I would be much more conceited and arrogant, so that is ok. All of us are to live so that whether a minister at our funeral says we are a saint or not, God will say we are a saint by his standards. His are the only standards that really matter!

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