The Preacher Won’t Have to Lie

(cc) p.Gordon - Flickr

(cc) p.Gordon – Flickr

Back in January, I attended the funeral of a man named Bob. I did not know Bob, and in fact had never even met him. Some of his relatives, however, are very dear friends of mine. So I drove the hour that it took to get to the church where the funeral was held.

As I sat there listening to three different men talk about Bob — the kind of family man and friend and church leader and business man that he was — I found myself thinking, “I sure would like to have known Bob.” It was obvious from the heartfelt comments made at the funeral, and from the number of people in attendance, that Bob was a good man, a godly man, a man who made a positive difference in the lives of those who knew him.

Funerals can be funny things (not funny as in “ha ha”, obviously, but rather funny as in odd or interesting.) The meanest scoundrel is often made out to be a beneficent humanitarian at his funeral. Preachers feel obligated to say something nice about the deceased at his funeral, even if they have to dig deep and look hard to find it. That’s just the nature of funerals.

There’s an old Lee Ann Womack song entitled, “The Preacher Won’t Have to Lie”. The chorus says, “The choices you make, the chances you take, they’ll follow you all of your life. I’m just tryin’ to live so when I die, the preacher won’t have to lie.”

The preacher didn’t have to lie at Bob’s funeral. I hope that you and I can live our lives in such a way that the preacher won’t have to lie at our funerals, either.

Paul O'Rear Signature


Image Credit:

  1. Cemetery, by p.Gordon (Flickr), Creative Commons License.

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2 thoughts on “The Preacher Won’t Have to Lie

  1. Not long ago I had a similar conversation with a good friend of mine. We actually laughed at the fact that even if you were viewed as a horrible, wicked, no-good, very bad person, the eulogy would inevitably make you out to be a saint.
    However, I believe the story of one’s life will be told by the attendance of the funeral. Often, we never get to see the fruits of our influence. But, in death, on the day that everyone comes to pay their respects, we find evidence of just how far reaching our touch was.
    Personally, I’m not concerned about what the preacher has to say at my funeral. I want to know that I had enough depth as a person, that my touch was wide and felt by large masses. (I’m pretty sure there was a man that lived that type of life a few thousand years ago.)
    Bob’s life was surely like this… he reached out and touched you through his family.
    Great post, Paul! I love how it made me pause for reflection.

    • “Often, we never get to see the fruits of our influence.” That is so true, Chad. As a minister – and specifically having spent twenty-five years in youth ministry – I have often asked myself if I am doing any good at all, if I am really making any kind of a real difference. Or, as Michael Hyatt expressed it, “Am I making a dent in the universe?”

      After I had been in youth ministry for about eight years, and had moved on from my first congregation to my second, I was back at the first congregation visiting one weekend. Two different parents came up to me that weekend and thanked me for the positive influence I had been on their children. Naturally, that made me feel good. But it also made me realize the very point you made in your comment. What if those two parents had not spoken to me that weekend? The influence would have still been there, but I would have never known it.

      So, in reality, we probably all have a much bigger impact on other people’s lives than we will ever know. The important thing is to simply keep living well and striving to make a difference, confident that the Lord will sort out all the rest.