We had a funeral this past Saturday. And it was a glorious one. The lady who passed away was eighty-two, and a member of our church. She had been bedridden for the past four years, so I had never met her, even though my husband visited her fairly often. Mrs. Marshall went home to be with the Lord on Sunday morning, March 22nd. Family and friends gathered from as far south as Jamaica, and as far north as New York. The family had a caterer prepare a meal and told us they expected around one hundred people to show up. So we cleaned and prepared and set up seating for 110 people in the fellowship hall. That took all our table and most of our folding chairs.
The funeral was to begin at 11:00. I got to the church shortly after 10:30, and the auditorium was already standing room only. All pews were full. Chairs set up down the aisles were full. People stood across the back of the auditorium and up the stairs at the back to the little storage room there. The foyer was shoulder-to-shoulder. People stood outside, hoping for some glimpse into the service. People crammed into the nursery, where they could hear the service on the speakers in there. There were almost 300 people at that funeral.
I was one of the people standing on the steps at the back of the auditorium, so I had a good view of the crowd. As I looked over this vast sea of people, it hit me. What an impact Mrs. Marshall had on the world. She was born again, and her life and testimony bore that out. She reached people. She touched their lives.
Then the thought came, who would come to my funeral? It was not a selfish thought, although it sounds like one. But I wasn't worried about who would remember me or memorialize me after I'm gone. Instead the thought turned to how many people will I touch while I'm alive? Who do I impact? And how do I influence them? Do people see Jesus in my life?
I was deeply challenged that morning, as we celebrated Mrs. Marshall's home-going. I'm sure to her husband and family, it seems like life passed so quickly. Eighty-two years is not a long time in the scheme of things. If I want to touch people's lives for Christ, I don't have any time to waste.
Another thought that occurred to me was this: the ending will be the same for all of us. Sometimes we live our lives as though we expect them to go on forever. We make decisions without a thought as to how they affect our future. We live for self or determine that "I really deserve this". But eventually, we will all be standing face-to-face with Jesus. How trivial some of those decisions and choices will be at that moment!
When I see my Saviour, I don't want to have a long list of things I accumulated or moments of fun or personal recognition. I want to have a long list of people that I impacted for Him. I'd better get started. There's no time to waste.