Today I sit down to write with a heavy heart. This morning I attended the funeral of a beautiful 16-year-old girl who had everything going for her in life. She was a leader on her soccer and volleyball teams. She played trumpet in the local homeschool band. She sang in the local homeschool choir. She served in the community via 4-H and a pet adoption agency. Her family loved her. Her friends loved her. She was the life of the party. Everyone who met her knew her for her contagious laugh, her encouraging demeanor, and her ornery spirit.
And then a car crossed the center median and her life was over in an instant. Gone. Finished.
Tears streamed down my face as one by one I heard testimony after testimony of Rachel’s impact on others, saw pictures of her never-ending smile, and recalled her many days singing under my direction in the homeschool choirs. She was a young positive leader that will definitely be missed by many.
Yet throughout it all, one thing stood out to me as I listened to the pastor share with an overflowing sanctuary this morning–even though Rachel’s life was short-lived, it was definitely not lived unintentionally. Rachel used her life to reach out to others and set a Christ-like example in all she did, even at her young age. She worshiped God to the fullest, loved those around her with a passion, and shared scripture like something unseen in a girl her age. As one person shared, if a friend confided in Rachel about something he/she was going to do and it was not something Christ-honoring, Rachel would reply, “I love you and I will stick by you, but I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
The pastor proceeded to say, “I tell my congregation all the time that you write your own funeral.” What he meant was–how you live, whom you impact, how you spend your time, and how you love will be what will come to the forefront at your funeral. Rachel’s funeral was bursting with love from all around, overflowing in numbers by her reach, and gushing with words of thankfulness and praise for the time each had with her. Her funeral indeed painted a beautiful picture of the words from Paul:
Let no one look down on your youth, but be an example for the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
But those words were not meant just for the young. They are meant for you and me, too. How we live–“in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity”–is something we would also do well to follow as believers in Jesus.
So my question today is, “If you were to die tomorrow, what would your funeral look like?” Are you ready to die? Or do you need to take some time to get out the heavenly eraser and start again? There is time for that, you know–God loves making new creations and that includes within you. All you have to do is ask.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Today’s post is in memory of my former student and Christ-inspiring example, Rachel Scarberry. I will miss hearing your alto voice, seeing your beautiful dimpled smile, and hearing your contagious laughter, but I smile at the thought of seeing you singing in the heavenly choirs someday. It was a joy knowing you, and I pray your passionate love for Christ will continue to impact many for Him even after your life here on earth. As you proved in your short-lived life, it’s not about the brevity of life but what you do with it that matters. Thank you for showing me even in death the real meaning of life–to give God the glory in all things. I will miss you, dear child, but the lessons I learned from your short life I will carry with me always.