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Then & Now - Week of May 5

  • 2014 May 05

What Nobody Will Say At Your Funeral
 Luke 12:15

In the last few years, I’ve had the honor of presiding over many funerals. I’ve preached the funerals of people well into their advanced years and I’ve preached the funerals of the young cast down in the primes of their lives. I’ve preached funerals of those who knew and walked with God for a lifetime and those who spent their life away from God.

I’ve heard a lot of things said at funerals. Someday I’ll write a book about those things. But there are some things nobody says at the funeral of someone they loved.

When it is time for folks to come up and say good things about the person who died, nobody says:

I’m so glad they built that big pool in their back yard.

Wow, I loved their huge plasma TV.

Isn’t it amazing he got to the top level of Halo?

But, the important thing is that her 401(k) was in great shape.

Nobody says those things. Why? Because when you put someone in the grave, you remember only what was important. Did they know God? Where will they spend eternity? What did their life consist of? Who did they touch?

Earlier this year my mother-in-law, Linda Sullivan, went to be with the Lord. It was a very tough time for all of us who knew and loved her, especially my wife Angela. What’s interesting about Linda is that she died with nary a cent to her name. She never ever had any kind of serious money. I’m sure there are some who could easily criticize her financial management.

But at her funeral, hundreds of people showed up. From every walk of life. People whose lives she touched through her teaching, her involvement in her church, her tireless works of encouragement and charity.

It was a reminder to me, a young healthy guy, what really matters in life. At the end of my life, when they put me in the ground, what will they say? Will they say that I invested my life in people God loves? Will I give them any good material?

Young people often fail to see their life this way. We don’t take the long view. We see here and now. We want what we want. We think life is about stuff and toys and who we know. But if you stop for a moment and look at the end of your life, it will re-center your purpose on what really matters: serving God and serving others.

I’ve attended the funerals of folks like my mother-in-law whose bank accounts were woefully low, who probably failed every Dave Ramsey financial course. And yet their lives were richly invested in the people they love.

I’ve also attended the funerals of folks who had all of their ducks in a row. Everything was neat and tidy. And yet, their life had no substance. Nobody notices that they passed and there is no gaping hole, because they invested in themselves instead of in others.

On the way to building your life, don’t forget to stop and think about your funeral. You’ll be surprised at how it will shape every major decision you make. 

Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at, or check out his website:

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