My grandfather, Flavil Yeakley, Sr., passed away in 1996 after preaching the gospel for 60 years. At his funeral, it was moving to hear stories from people I didn’t know about how he had touched their lives. One man shared that he was a Christian and a preacher because of him. I’ve attended hundreds of funerals over the years, and I always appreciate getting to hear how much those being remembered meant to their friends and loved ones.
In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain tells of a time when the townsfolk thought Tom, Huck Finn and Joe Thatcher had “drownded” in the river. The three boys had actually just rafted over to an island for a few days to camp out and pretend they were pirates. But when they realized everyone thought they were dead, they decided to attend their own funeral.
A day or two before the funeral Tom snuck back into his Aunt Polly’s house, hid under a bed, and overheard her say, “He never meant any harm, and he was the best–hearted boy that ever was,” and she began to cry.
On the day of the funeral “the bell began to toll. None could remember when the little church had been so full before. The minister related many a touching incident in the lives of the departed which illustrated their sweet, generous natures, and the people could easily see, now, how noble and beautiful those episodes were, and remembered with grief that at the time they occurred they had seemed well-deserving of the cowhide. The congregation became more and more moved, till at last the whole company broke down and joined the weeping mourners in a chorus of anguished sobs.”
“There was a rustle in the gallery, which nobody noticed; a moment later the church door creaked; the minister raised his streaming eyes above his handkerchief, and stood transfixed! First one and then another pair of eyes followed the minister’s, and then almost with one impulse the congregation rose and stared while the three dead boys came marching up the aisle. They had been hid in the unused gallery listening to their own funeral sermon!”
Have you ever attended a funeral and regretted not telling the deceased how much you loved or appreciated them? Maybe you should sit down right now and make a list of the people you need to give that message to, and then do it TODAY.
“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today.’” (Hebrews 3:13)