Recently I attended a funeral service for a friend. It was emotional…it is always emotional. There are feelings of sadness and pain. Some in the crowd probably felt cheated, some angry, and some confused. My friend was only 34.
What stuck out to me was something the preacher said. He quoted a verse from Ecclesiastes 7:2 which read,
Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies–so the living should take this to heart.
The pastor pointed out the oddity of this verse by explaining that he has never met a person who, if given a choice of attending a party or a funeral, would choose the funeral.
Why then would God say it is better to attend the funeral than a party?
Let me suggest two reasons:
1. A funeral helps those who are alive to consider the day they will meet God.
Not many of us like to consider the day that we will die. We do not naturally go there mentally. However when we go to a funeral, we are forced to think about our own mortality… the day we will meet God. Such thoughts should lead us to consider if we are actually ready to meet God.
2. A funeral helps us remember that life is short.
The bible repeats this idea several times. It says that life is like a vapor and it is like grass that is here today and gone tomorrow. Life is fragile and we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Therefore those who are alive should live each moment to its fullest… enjoying all that God has given us.
God says that it is better to attend a funeral than a party, not because He is against parties. In fact, I believe God loves a good party!
He just wants us to be reminded every now and then of what is most important… living our lives in light of His presence and in such a way that we get the most out of every day!
To sum up, I believe a funeral, although very sad, is a catalyst to live the best life you can live, and to live it in such a way that you will not be embarrassed or unprepared to meet God when your time is up.