This may sound strange, but I enjoy conducting funerals as a pastor. No, I don’t enjoy death or seeing families lament the passing of their loved ones, but I am grateful every time I get a call to do a funeral.
Let me explain why.
First of all, I have a good relationship with Murphy Parks Funeral Home. If you need to arrange services for yourself or a family member, call Stuart Parks. He’s the best! He will take care of you and make sure your needs are met and your loved one is honored.
When Stuart needs a pastor for a funeral, he calls me, and nine times out of ten, I am available to handle the service. When this happens, I am grateful and here are two primary reasons why.
1. I can be there for the family. As you know, when someone dies, it is hard on a family. Preparing for a funeral is stressful and exhausting. Add on top of all this the sorrow and pain of losing someone you love, and it can be a difficult experience. This is where I can come in and show the love of Christ. The Bible tells us to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). When they’re grieving, I can help them through this process.
2. It’s a great time to share the gospel. There is no better time to share the gospel than at a funeral. Death is sobering. It causes us to think on our own mortalities. It reminds us that one day we, too, will die. We all know that death will come knocking on our door, but we don’t like to think about it. In fact, we do everything we can to remain numb to this reality. Funerals interrupt the numbness. Seeing a dead body in a coffin refocuses our attention on what matters in life. It also opens our minds more to the truth of the gospel. At every funeral, I have one main message. Of course, I eulogize the deceased and attempt to bring comfort to the family. But my main objective is to inform my listeners that one day, you too will die, and when you do, you will have to face almighty God. The Bible says, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). When we die, we will enter immediately into the presence of God. Our bodies will be dead, but our souls still exist. In that moment, “people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36). Every thought we’ve ever had, word we’ve ever spoken, deed ever carried out will be brought under the holy, omnipotent, omniscient scrutiny of God, almighty. And if we stand before Him on our own merits, trusting in our own righteousness, trusting that we are good people and believe we deserve Heaven, we will be condemned, because “none is righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). But there is a way we can stand before God with confidence on that day. There is a way we can be sure our sins will be forgiven, and God will credit us with perfect righteousness. It is by trusting in Jesus Christ. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:21-22). In Christ, we can be sure that, upon our death, God will grant us access into His Kingdom and presence forever. Now, you can see why I am grateful to do funerals. I don’t enjoy death, but I do delight in telling people how they can escape death through our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Thanks for reading!
Brandon Sutton is the pastor at Blue Ridge Christian Union Church and the founder of Sutton Church Consulting (Suttonconsultations.com). You can email him at email@example.com