I'm conducting a memorial service today for a friend of mine who died at 84 years old. He was an ordinary man in many ways. Had a wife, had children, held several jobs, was loved and will be missed by many people. I read the obituary in the paper detailing some of his accomplishments, his interests, and his travels. All those things seemed normal and appropriate but somehow seemed...what's the word I'm looking for? Fleeting. My friend's jobs, vacation, and dare I say "family" mean nothing to him today. He's removed from all such notions and concerns.
What does an obituary really say about the life of a person? Not much. What jumped out at me was a small telling line at the very end of the Newspaper entry: "He was a member of the "____" Church. Now this got my attention. My friend was a Christ follower. He worshiped and served in Christ's church for longer than I've been alive. He gave generously, helped the poor, read the Scripture, and tried his best to live for Jesus. At the end of his life he struggled into church with a degenerating spine, cancer in his body, and unable to see because of his blindness. But he came, and he sang, and he shook hands, and he listened to the Scripture because my friend was a Christian.
I realize that part of our lives in Christ includes living in this world; experiencing it. What we do, who we know, how we live down here does count for something. But at the end of our days, when the sum total of our life's accomplishments are considered what will matter? One simple thing: Did I know Jesus?
As people who are striving for Christ to get the increase (Jn 3:30), what really matters about me? I hope to be a long ways away from my own obituary being written, but I propose to those of you who may write it...I'd like it to say only the thing that matters. I want people to know that one thing about me that points them to Him! Here's what I propose:
Erik True Neilson
(Dec 27, 1974-????)
Follower of Jesus.
Read the Bible in One Year Plan: Genesis 23-26