Friday, April 24, 2009

Preparing for Death Beyond the Funeral

The New York Times printed this story, “The Funeral: Your Last Chance to Be a Big Spender”. Funeral Director Peter Maloney believes that even in hard economic times people still want to have something special and memorable about their funeral. Here’s part of the story--

Although not all of his customers can fully express their wishes, Mr. Moloney and his brothers, who own six funeral homes on Long Island, have worked hard to arrange customized send-offs. And the touches are as varied as the customers themselves.

Bike lovers pay an extra $200 or so to take their last ride in a special hearse towed by a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Gardeners select wildflower seed packets to include with their funeral programs. One gentleman wanted to be remembered for comforting his grandchildren with ice cream, so, after the funeral, mourners were greeted by a man in a Good Humor truck, handing out frozen treats.

“You have to give people something special,” says Mr. Moloney, who is 44 and a fourth-generation funeral director. “If you’re not, someone else will be. That means adjusting to what people want today.”

With the average funeral costing about $8,000 people would do well to give some thought and preparation for their funeral. In a former church that I served as pastor it was common for most families to own cemetery plots for years before they died. Some even purchased their casket and prepaid for the other services so that they could lock in costs and not be a burden to their family. It is tremendously thoughtful. However, these frugal church members would never have bought in to the extravagances that Maloney’s funeral homes provide.

Do I even need to point out that there is something infinitely more important than preparing for a funeral? One hundred percent of us are going to die. The Bible says, “Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27, NLT)

The preparations that are of the greatest significance are to follow Christ as Lord and to build a Christ-like, biblical life since we will stand before God after death (and the funeral) and give an account.

Since the “life clock” is ticking and we don’t know when ours will stop here’s a few quick reflections for the day:

--Do I have a relationship with God through faith in Christ?
--Am I more loving today than I was last year?
--Do I use my life to serve God and others as I obey God’s promptings?
--Is generosity characteristic of how I use time and money?
--Do I live as someone who is “just passing through” this world because heaven is my home?

1 comment:

lisau said...

AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!!!! I know so many people in their 50's or older spending time making sure their life will have meaning so people have something to say about their accomplishments at their funeral. They are documenting their achievements, preparing wills etc. and deciding who will get what. You would think they would want to spend more time preparing for eternity......Lisa