A touch of greaterness

October 3, 2010


Do you ever wonder why people stand in line for hours to watch the funeral procession of a celebrity or head of state. Or, why people wait in line and stare down at the visage of someone they never met? Yes paying respects is important, but if the famous person was a stranger his family probably was as well, so…

Perhaps people are looking for a glimpse, just a touch of greatness.

I once stood outside of a funeral home and waited to pay respects to the family of a man I never met. I hoped to offer a word of comfort to his daughter. It was surprising to see the large number of people who waited, many of them, for close to an hour, to offer a word of encouragement to the family. (Interestingly, it seemed that the family offered as much comfort and encouragement as they received.) For those waiting it was not to receive a touch of greatness, but rather, to receive a touch of greaterness.

My heart was warmed by dozens of people lined up to say, “He made a difference in my life.” He touched the lives of many in a positive and God honoring manner. People came as much to say “thank you,” as they did to say “I’m sorry for your loss.” After hearing just a few comments I could understand why people would wait in a line for this kind of person, his impact was greater than that of a celebrity that would draw a crowd. Perhaps I should say his impact was better. And I realize that I had met the man after all – through his daughter. The grace and love of the man was reflected in the life of his daughter.

So as we lay awake at night planning our own funeral services, here are a few ideas on how we can make it a good one.

  1. As James Taylor would say, shower the people you love with love. Who cares what the rest of the world thinks if your kids won’t talk to you?
  2. Don’t just do big things, do important things. Praying for others, being a secret servant, touching an untouchable person, loving an unlovable person are some of the most important tasks imaginable.
  3. Consistently model the right things. Be involved in long term service, as well as one-day projects. Think of the impact on your own children if they know that you helped out in a ministry for years. Then add to that the impact you would make on all the people that were part of your ministry.
  4. Don’t jump on any bandwagon, look for things that last, and be part of eternity. Don’t try to find out what the cool people are doing, find out what God is doing and be a part of that.
  5. Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God. Micah’s word from God is as important for us today as it was for Jerusalem 2500 years ago.

The funny thing is, if we plan for a really good funeral, we might just end up with a really good life instead. And then we could impart a touch of greaterness to the people in our lives.



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