By Jon Porter
I’ve lost count of how many funerals I’ve officiated over the years. But of all the funerals I’ve been blessed to be a part of, one stands out to this very day.
It haunts me.
I was asked to do a graveside service in early winter. The kind of day that is bathed in grey and the type of cold that just sinks into your bones.
I had no connection with the family. I was simply the “pastor of availability”.
Conflicting schedules made meeting with family prior to the service impossible.
I was flying blind…
Approaching the gravesite, the daughter of the deceased grabbed my arm.
“Don’t preach him into heaven. He’s not there.”
The hurt was overwhelming.
How does a father allow this to happen?
How can we make sure it doesn’t happen to us?
Start by helping your kids write your funeral service right now.
Begin today on being purposeful with what you leave.
Just recently, I was a part of two funeral services that could best be described as dysfunctional. Conflict between siblings made everyone uncomfortable.
Kind of like dancing on a powder keg with your shorts on fire…
Start now by teaching your children how to handle conflict effectively.
Demonstrate forgiveness – both the giving and receiving of.
Show extravagant grace.
Help the healing.
And when all else fails…
Step in the middle and put a stop to it.
You’re the dad, for goodness sake.
And then go back to the first three things mentions and start the process all over again.
Create moments of joy that kick sorrow in the teeth.
Every belly laugh…
Every “roll on the floor” wrestling match…
Every “oh, Dad” roll their eyes at you moment…
…Will come back and wrap comfort around them like their favorite blanket when you’re gone.
Leave A Legacy Worth Leaving
Notice I didn’t say inheritance. Inheritance brings to mind money.
I’m talking about something even more valuable.
I’m talking legacy.
“My dad loved my mom.”
“My dad was kind.”
“My dad was an honest man.”
“My dad was always willing to help others.”
“My dad was loving and kind.”
At the end of our story we will have left our children moments that shape their “my dad was…” statements.
What will the moments you live now say about you then?
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
The single greatest thing that you can do as a father is to make real Jesus Christ to your children.
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…”
There is no greater hope than this.
In John 14, Jesus comforts His disciples with the promise of a home beyond this physical life. Jesus assures them by reminding them of the work that He as already been doing in their lives.
“And you know the way to where I am going.” – John 14:4 (ESV)
Jesus could say this because he had invested in them, walked beside them, taught them.
And I know…
At the end of the day the choice to follow Jesus isn’t in your control.
But them knowing the way is.
How do we do this?
Follow Jesus first.
Don’t worry about showing your kids Christ.
Allow them to see Christ in you.
Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to celebrate the life of a beautiful lady. I was able to sit with her and plan her funeral. It was an amazing experience.
My friend left her daughters with so much…
But three things stuck out to me.
1. Life isn’t always fair.
2. God is always faithful and good.
3. And there is always a reason to dance.
Amidst tears and laughter, we said our goodbyes for now.
And while my friend’s favorite song played, her daughter took the hand of her grandfather and they danced.
And soon the whole room was dancing and swaying to the rhythm of a beautiful life.
Now that’s how you write a funeral…
Go make the moments that will write yours.
Jon Porter is a pastor, writer, speaker, and musician from Greensburg, Indiana. Jon is married to his best friend, Kim, and is blessed to be the dad of 3 beautiful daughters. Jon loves basketball, baseball, and football, and anything he gets to watch his daughters participate in.