Never a Doubt

Most preachers that I know hate performing weddings and find more joy in performing funerals. Please let me clarify. One minister friend told me that at funerals he can minister to the family in their time of loss. He can pray with the family and speak words of comfort and hope. He further went on to tell me that at weddings people can be demanding and difficult to handle. I know a great number of preachers feel that same way.

I am the exact opposite. I have performed well over a hundred weddings during my time in ministry. Most of them have been a great experience for me. On the other hand, I have only performed a dozen of so funerals. Almost all of them have been hard on me. I think the reason is because almost of them have been for people I did not know.

Through the years someone randomly called the Church I served and asked me to perform a funeral for a person who knew someone, who knew someone who once attended our Church. Having no knowledge of the person always leaves me at the mercy of the family. They have to tell me about this person on every level. They tell me about family, friends, and hobbies without any struggle. Then comes the biggest question of all, “Can you tell me about their faith?”

With this one question the room usually grows deadly silent. People look at each other and then they stare at the floor. They stutter and offer half-hearted answers. Often they tell some story from years and years ago. Sometimes they have a story about a nice conversation with a hospital chaplain or hospice nurse. The bottom line is that they have no idea about what this person really believed. Usually their thoughts about eternity are based on weak threads of questionable dialog.

As a result of my odd experiences with funerals I have been able to reach one concrete conclusion about my life. I want to live my life in such a way that no one has to guess about my beliefs. I want there to be no doubt about where I am going to spend eternity. I want my family to be confident about who I am, what I believe and how I lived. I want my loved ones to know my favorite scriptures and songs that were important to me. I want them to speak with confidence about my journey with Jesus.

I hope the same is true for you when I am asked to do your funeral.

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