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Hope for Eternity

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, "It is better to go to a funeral than a feast. For death is the destiny of every person, and the living should take this to heart."

This week I've been privileged (?) to experience this "better" event. And this verse kept coming to mind as we progressed from the death of our friend's father, to the planning of the service, to the reminiscing of the family, to the ceremony itself. I didn't know the man personally, but I know his son, my husband's friend. And my husband had known the man for most of his life.

What made this experience more personal for me was watching my husband serve as the minister for the memorial service.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, "It is better to go to a funeral than a feast. For death is the destiny of every person, and the living should take this to heart."

This week I've been privileged (?) to experience this "better" event. And this verse kept coming to mind as we progressed from the death of our friend's father, to the planning of the service, to the reminiscing of the family, to the ceremony itself. I didn't know the man personally, but I know his son, my husband's friend. And my husband had known the man for most of his life.

What made this experience more personal for me was watching my husband serve as the minister for the memorial service.

It was his first time to do so (having been ordained only eighteen months ago). He struggled to find the right words that would honor the deceased yet allow him to keep his composure. I don't think I've wept more than I did this week, observing his preparation and grieving, since my own stepfather died five years ago.

The service was beautiful. The testimonies were both humorous and moving. The sermon brought honor not only to the deceased, but to God. For the gospel was preached clearly.

Where else does one find hope at a funeral? Certainly not in wishes and positive thinking. Only Jesus Christ, the object of our hope, the one who paid the price for our sins so we wouldn't have to, only the Eternal One can provide hope for eternity.

So whether you are facing a funeral, or celebrating a wedding, or rejoicing over the birth of a new baby, consider the object of your hope. Is it your own goodness, your own talents and abilities, your own innate generosity? These things are wonderful, but they are temporal.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb 13:8). You can count on him in eternity. I encourage you to start now, though! "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly," he says in John 10:10.

Solomon was right. Funerals are great opportunities to ponder life. Let your abundant life start now.

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Kelley Mathews

Kelley Mathews (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary) has written and edited for the Christian market for more than 20 years. Currently a writer for RightNow Media, she lives in North Texas with her husband and their four children. She has partnered with Sue Edwards to coauthor Mixed Ministry, Women’s Retreats, Leading Women Who Woundand Organic Ministry to Women. Find her books and blog at KelleyMathews.com.