Who’s going to cry at your funeral?
FEBRUARY 5, 2024
Hey, who’s going to cry at your funeral? Let’s talk about it on, Key Life.
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. Because life’s hard for everyone, grace is for all of us. Our host is seminary professor and author, Steve Brown.
Thank you Matthew. And I hope you had a great week-end, and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the Book of Proverbs, and we’re doing it in a kind of different way. With most books of the Bible, and if you’ve been with us very long, you know that’s what we do. With most books of the Bible, you take them line upon line, verse upon verse, precept upon precept, but you can’t do that with Proverbs because no outline really fits. The Book of Proverbs goes all over the place. And so, what I’ve done, because I like you, I took the time to go through the Book of Proverbs and defined about 10,000 different subjects that are addressed in the Book of Proverbs. And we’re spending some time on those particular subjects as we go along. We’ve got three or four, five more weeks of this, and I haven’t decided where we’re going to go after that. But Proverbs is enough for right now. Let’s pray before we study. Father, we come into your presence, and as always, we’re thankful that you took the time to write it down. Father, you know our frame, and you understand how confused we are sometimes and how we would have gotten it wrong if we passed it along without the memo. So, you wrote the memo, the Scriptures, so we can check them out and know your truth. Father, you know the people who are listening to this broadcast right now. You know the hard places and the soft ones, the tears and the joy. We praise you because we know, at least in our heads and make it real in our hearts, that you are God, that you’re in charge, that you’re the sovereign Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of everything, and that you love us and we can trust you. And then Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast. Forgive him his sins because there are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen. Alright, if you’re in a place where you can, open it to the Book of Proverbs and we’ll be going all over the place. First, look at what Proverbs says about who should be at your funeral. Proverbs 10:7.
The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.
Well, that’s fairly clear. Proverbs 11:7.
When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, and the hope of the unjust perishes.
Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also praises her.
As you know, I spent a significant portion of my life teaching in theological seminaries and teaching students practical things about ministry. Like how not to drop the baby if you’re a Presbyterian. Like how to win the political battles without betraying your faith. Like how to preach and talk in ways that people will listen. But one of the things that I taught in these kinds of classes was how to conduct a funeral. And I said to those students, and it was a wise thing, and I have been thanked for having taught them this. Don’t ever make the people sitting at the funeral service want to think that they’ve gone to the wrong place and somebody else is in the coffin. At the end of the funeral service, people ought to say to you, You knew him. You got him. You understood. Now, if you’re going to do that, that requires that you don’t just talk about good things. About how wonderful he or she was, how they were almost perfect, and that’s why they’re in heaven. That’s from the pit of hell and smells like smoke. Nobody is that good. So, talk about good things. Remember the good things, but also make reference to the other things. Like Sam was, Sam was stubborn. Stubborn is an alright word you can use in a funeral. Sam didn’t like cats. That’s something that’s safe you can say in a funeral. You know that old story about the man that went to his priest and said, you know, I’ve got my two brothers who died, and I want you to say something good about them. And the priest said, I can’t, there’s nothing. They were a couple of the meanest people on the face of the earth. Nobody liked him, and that for a good reason. And the man said, Okay, I was going to give you $500,000 for the building program, but if you can’t. Wait, the priest said, I’ll think of something in the service. He said, Billy, the brother, was mean as a snake. Compared to his brother, he was a really nice person. When you go to your funeral, I have a friend, you don’t go to your funeral, but you’re there. Or at least a part of you is there. The good part is in heaven and probably didn’t attend. What’s that old story about the woman that bent over the coffin and cried out, George, speak to me. Oh George, speak to me. Two ladies were sitting in the congregation and one turned to the other. And she said, if he speaks to her, where’s the door? And her friend said, there isn’t one except in the back. And her friend replied, where do they want a new door? At the funeral, my friend says, who’s going to cry? Who’s going to miss you? Who’s going to remember and be glad for you? And he told me, I’ve decided, and he’s an old guy like me, to only spend time with those who will cry at my funeral. Now, I don’t know if I go along with that totally, but I get what he was talking about. And it’s the same thing that the Book of Proverbs talks about. Funerals are important. And some funerals are graduation service. And other funerals are something you’ve just got to do to get through. I remember when I was a young pastor and there was a man in our village on Cape Cod, who really was not, well, he wasn’t a Christian, but he wasn’t good either. I mean, nobody liked him. He hated cats and dogs. He didn’t like anybody. And his poor wife was abused. And then that sucker died. And there was a retired Methodist minister in that village by the name of John Wingate. And he and I did the funeral service together. And I said, John, I’ll pray the prayers and I’ll do the liturgy, but you do the eulogy because I have no idea what I would say about this man. And Dr. Wingate said, fine, son, I’ll do it. And I did the liturgy and the prayers and he got up and started talking about this man and his apple tree. And he said, that was one of the finest apple trees in this entire village, and he worked on it. And the apples that came, and he went on and on about this apple tree. And when he finished, I was thinking, that man, that man wasn’t as bad as I thought he was. And when we got back to my study, I had an attack of sanity, and I said to Dr. Wingate, I don’t know how you did that, but you’re amazing. Only spend time with those who will cry at your funeral. Well, enough about that. Let me show you about why unbelievers ought to be glad to have believers as part of their nation, their community, and their neighborhood. Leaven makes the community rise. As you know, we live in a time when people don’t like Christians. I mean, the criticism and the hatred that is expressed to us is something that I haven’t seen in my lifetime. But it’s there, and they’re making a horrible mistake because, as we’ll see tomorrow, leaven makes the community rise. Proverbs teaches that, that when a Christian resides in a community, the community is kinder and more compassionate and more successful and better because of our presence. So, if you’re not a believer and don’t like Christians, stop it. We make the difference. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown continuing our journey through the Book of Proverbs. It’s a series we’re calling Street-Smart Christians. And if you didn’t know, you could find this entire series every single episode on our website, keylife.org where you can stream them for free. We’ll continue from here tomorrow. Do hope you’ll join us. Hey, do you know Voddie Baucham? Well, if you do, you’ll want to lean in. And if you don’t, then I am so pleased to make the introduction. Voddie is an author, he’s a pastor, church planter, college Dean. He’s also a charismatic and outspoken voice for God’s truth. Well, we spoke with Voddie on Steve Brown Etc about culture, politics, and the gospel in a post Christian world, and it was fascinating. Get that conversation on CD for free by calling us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. And if you’d like to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the CD featuring Voddie Baucham. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you join us in that work through your financial support? You can charge a gift on your credit card, or include a gift in your envelope. Or give safely and securely simply by texting Key Life to 28950. And listen, if you cannot give right now, all good. Hey, but please do pray for us, would you? It helps. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.