The Wall Street Journal came out this week with a fascinating look at recent changes to the way Americans do funerals. In particular, WSJ noted that churches are no longer the main place where funerals happen. Instead, because an increasing number of people in the US have no religious affiliation whatsoever, many of them are opting to cremate their dead and celebrate their lives in non-traditional ways, like rock concerts or yacht parties or seaside memorial services.
How a culture deals with death demonstrates what it believes is truly important. These changes are not merely a shift in tastes or preferences, but a reorientation to a secular view of life. Modern funerals focus solely on the individuality of the person’s life—trivial things like their hobbies and favorite foods—rather than on the immortality of the person’s soul. But this raises the nagging question: is this life really all there is?
As Christians, we believe every person we put into the ground will one day be called back out by Christ—either to eternal damnation or eternal reward. We will live forever. The question that truly matters is: have you put your faith in Jesus Christ?
God, we ask that you would make our entire lives—and even our deaths—a testimony to the reality of the Christian faith. We ask that you would use even the smallest details of our funerals as a way to show our hope in the resurrection of our physical bodies and our assurance of being with Christ in the New Heavens and Earth for eternity. Let us live and die in a way that points people to you.
Dr. Robert Jeffress is a best-selling author of 25 books, a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host and the senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, one of the largest and most influential churches in America. Pathway to Victory, Dr. Jeffress’ broadcast ministry, airs daily nationwide on more than 900 radio stations and is broadcast live to 195 countries. His latest book, Choosing the Extraordinary Life: God’s 7 Secrets for Success and Significance, is available in bookstores everywhere. He is an evangelical adviser to the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.