When my sister and I were young, Grandpa always knew how to cheer us up. He would give us “happy pills.” If I scraped my knee, the happy pills made me feel better. If I was sad, Grandpa’s happy pills would instantly stop the tears. Where can one find these powerful pills, you ask? They can be found in any grocery store, but most people call them “candy corn.” That special memory led me to slip a small bag of happy pills into Grandpa’s casket at his funeral. When later I told my dad what I had done, he laughed and admitted that he had slipped some puzzle pieces into Grandpa’s casket. Grandpa enjoyed jigsaw puzzles and often glued together and framed the finished product.
A couple of months ago, Neal and I went to the viewing of a sister in Christ who had passed away. When I walked up to the casket, I noticed the family had arranged for her to be holding a beautiful teacup. The family explained that she was British and never let a day go by without having tea.
This past week, Neal and I went to the funeral of a dear friend. Although the casket was closed, an American flag was draped over it. This brother had served his country both in the military and on the police force.
All three of these individuals were remembered by things that were important to them or things that they loved. I find myself wondering what will be slipped into my casket. How will my family remember me? What items might symbolize things I enjoy or hold dear? Funerals are not the appropriate time to showcase negative traits about the dearly departed, but what if my loved ones were to be completely frank and honest? Would they stick a wad of cash in my casket? Or a TV Guide? Or my laptop? Ideally, I would be holding a Bible and a picture of my family, but just because that’s how I WANT to be remembered doesn’t mean my actions proclaim it.
I want to be remembered as someone who loved God’s Word. Do I spend time daily immersed in the Scriptures? Do I study each verse diligently to gain the knowledge God intended for me to have? Do I defend the Truth when it comes under attack? Do I proclaim it to my friends and neighbors? Do I encourage others to love the Word by sharing it, delighting in it, and talking about the joy it brings? “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).
I want to be remembered as a faithful Christian. Am I consistent in my fervor and dedication to the Lord? Do I assemble with the saints at each and every opportunity? Do I accept God’s chastening and adjust my life according to His will? Do I remain true to the Father even when confused, discouraged, tired? “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
I want to be remembered as a dedicated wife. Do I speak highly of my husband to others instead of criticizing or complaining? Do I look for ways to let him know I love and even adore him? Do I put his needs above my own, or selfishly demand his attention and pampering? Do I protect the love we share by avoiding flirtations? Do I stand by his side through good times and bad? “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Prov. 31:12).
I want to be remembered as a loving mother. Do my children know that the salvation of their souls is my high priority? Do I stand firm in discipline even though it’d be much easier to be their pal? Am I as generous with compassion and patience as I need my Heavenly Father to be with me? Do I look for opportunities every day to plant the Word in the hearts of my children? “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6,7).
I want to be remembered as a soul-winner. When was the last time I had a Bible study with someone? Do I keep my Bible with me so I am ready at any moment to share the good news? Do I pray for wisdom and guidance in reaching the lost? Do I see SOULS instead of bank tellers, cashiers, and waiters? Do I pray for God to send seekers my way? “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:3).
The dear brother whose funeral we attended this past week was a great soul-winner. He was passionate about saving the lost! At the funeral, friends and family were offered an opportunity to say a few words. Nearly everyone who spoke mentioned something about his evangelistic nature. Afterward, I rode with a friend to the graveside service. She asked her children if anything stood out to them about the comments that were made. Her children repeated some of the words that were used multiple times– “passionate, caring, generous.” She then asked, “Did you hear anyone talk about how much money he had or how good-looking he was?” When her children shook their heads, she asked, “What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?” This wise mother took advantage of a teaching opportunity. Little did she know she made me think as well.
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:9,10).