It irritates me when I hear someone use an old, overused saying. Especially with a dramatic pause or look right after the phrase, as if to say, “you’ve probably never heard that before”.
One of those sayings, which is actually a question, is: what would you want said at your funeral. As I have heard that over the years, instead of letting that question stir my heart, I would mentally sidetrack into unspoken criticism of the presenter.
One day I heard someone ask: are you building a résumé life or a eulogy life. In essence, this question was leading to the same point as the other question, but this time I was intrigued.
A résumé life is about doing things to build credibility and value with the world. As with a résumé, it’s building a lists of accomplishments, positions and awards so that you will be valued above others.
A eulogy life is about the effect of a life on others. When a eulogy is given at a memorial service, what is shared is the effect the deceased person had on their life, their family or their community. Things such as wealth, position and status fall away with a person’s life from this earth.
- “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” (I John 2:15-17 NLT)
So, the first questions is: what type of life are you building? A résumé life or a eulogy life.
The follow-up question, if you desire a eulogy life, is: what is the effect you most want to have on others? What would you want to hear others say about you?
Answering this second question has been one of the most profound exercises in discovering what God has written on my heart. I’ll share what I wrote, which is very personal to me, only to serve as an example of what this might look like. Every word in this statement has great meaning to me.
“Gary convinced me with his words and his life that I was greatly loved by God, that I possessed something weighty, beautiful, brilliant, glorious in my life that others needed and wanted, including him. He demonstrated and inspired a life of faith, hope and love. He was committed to this and remained undistracted. He was generous with everyone. Though he struggled and was honest about it, he was steady. He exemplified living a life of calling in humility, gentleness and patience.”
I hope you will take this idea to heart, evaluating what type of life you have been building and what you desire to hear other’s say about your effect on their life. And then, start pursuing that personal God-given effect now.
I also want to encourage you to speak eulogy-type words to those in your life while they are still with you. They need those words now…as do you.