Celebrate a Saint By Presenting Salvation

Have you ever been to the funeral of a saint? 

Oh, I know we don’t go around calling people Saint So-and-So, but surely there’s been a saint in your life.

Merriam-Webster defines saint as a person who is officially recognized by the Christian church as being very holy because of the way he or she lived OR a person who is very good, kind, or patient.  

I’m talking about those who meet the first definition. I’ve had the privilege of knowing many saints. My life has been impacted greatly by those who have lived their lives as a living sacrifice.  

I’ve also gone to the funerals of a few saints.

Now, I know funerals aren’t something that people like to talk about, and they aren’t necessarily super exciting content, but don’t you think a saints funeral should be something to talk about?

I attended the funeral of a man who was a walking testimony to everyone met. He wasn’t a preacher. As far as I’m aware he wasn’t in any top of the chain leadership positions anywhere.

But he loved God and he loved people and he loved telling people about God.

Ok, so maybe he wasn’t called to preach and he never filled a pulpit, but the man was a preacher. He oozed Jesus. You couldn’t stand by him, talk to him, or even hear about him from someone else without getting a little Jesus on you.

Do you know someone like this? Do you have someone like this in your life?

I actually wasn’t close to this individual, but somehow just a time when I was really struggling in my walk and my ministry, there he was. With a word of encouragement. With a promise of prayer. With words that brought me hope.

For various reasons, especially the one right above, I attended this saint’s funeral. As odd as it might sound, I anticipated the funeral. I was excited about it and expected something amazing to come from it.

It was the funeral of a saint! Things were going to happen!

Wonderful things were said about the saints life. A prayer was said. Worship songs sang. And as expected the sanctuary was filled.

Something was missing, though. Salvation was never presented. Hope wasn’t offered in a way that those in attendance could reach out and accept the same assurance this saint had.

I left that sanctuary feeling sick to my stomach. So many people that could have found salvation that day, that might not ever sit inside a church again, that could have been reached because of the life this saint lived, and we just let them walk away.

Can we keep this from happening?

I often tell my family that when I die there better not be any sad, depressing music played at my visitation or funeral. I’m ok with being cremated or buried either one. I know where I’m going, and it doesn’t matter to me what you do with my remains.

But what does matter to me is that if people gather to remember me, crank up music, raise your hands in worship, and whatever you do, don’t let anyone leave until someone, anyone, everyone has preached Jesus as Savior and the only way to eternal life. 

photo credit: Chad McDonald via photopin cc

8 responses to this post.

  1. I will be turning 34 next month and I'm happy to say that no one close to me has ever died. I believe I have only attended 3 funerals ever. The most recent one about 4 years ago for a partner that passed away from the law firm I worked at. I don't believe a funeral is a place to be preaching to the mourners. Many are there to remember their deceased loved one, not to be preached at. I imagine you would not want to be preached at while attending a funeral for someone of another faith, and vice-versa, non-Christians don't want to be preached at by Christians. On the other hand, if everyone at the funeral service is Christian, then by all means, preach on. -Paulette Romero


  2. This is such an inspirational post. When I die, I would like people to celebrate my life and accomplishments. I don't want anyone to wear black and I'd love a New Orleans style second line celebration!


  3. Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    This is Donna The New Living translation of the Bible
    Ecclesiastes 7

    1 A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.
    And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
    2 Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.
    After all, everyone dies—
    so the living should take this to heart.
    3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
    for sadness has a refining influence on us.
    4 A wise person thinks a lot about death,
    while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
    This is part of what I would like talked about at my funeral. I want people to learn to live with eternity in mind. Life is more than the time we spend on earth and I want my life to remind people of that. I don't think that is preaching as much as it is offering an opportunity to think about their own life. I want people who care enough to come to my funeral to know why I lived my life as I did and hopefully to spend eternity with me in Heaven. I also want my life celebrated and my moving on to be a joyful move not an occasion for mourning. This is only possible if you live in view of eternity.


  4. Wow, this is so timely for me. I will be attended a funeral tonight and tomorrow of a saint. He was a true brother in the Lord. This post is confirmation of my feelings over the last week. It's going to be a funeral and it will be partly sad because although he was sick, no one was ready to let him go.

    Still, I anticipate a high time in the Lord. The choir will sing tonight and they will be songs of uplifting praise. I know we will worship and sing and dance. This was the character of my friend. He was an anointed singer and loved to praise God.

    We are comforted that his sickness is over forever and that soon we will see his soul again.

    Thank you for this comforting post. I really needed this today! 🙂


  5. Persephone,

    It is great that you have not had to experience a great loss yet! Due to the circles I travel in, I have the opportunity to attend funerals a couple times a year. I have been to funerals that have been very religious in nature (whether mine or incredibly different) and funerals where religion is never mentioned.

    I do believe that a funeral should allow mourners to remember their deceased loved one. However, if that loved one was a devoutly religious person, of any faith, their funeral should be a reflection of their personality. If they were oozing Jesus in the break room at work, then I firmly believe they would want their friends, family members, and co-workers to have that same last impression. It is my choice as an attendee whether I choose to listen to or accept anything that is presented.

    I love hearing from people with perspectives different than mine! It's how we grow. Please come back and add your voice to the conversation again!


  6. Sojourner,

    I'm going to have to google that kind of celebration, but it sounds like we have similar ideas! I tell my family, “Crank up the music and REJOICE! Because I promise you that's what I'll be doing!”

    Please stop by to chat again!!!


  7. Donna,

    Where were you when I was writing this post? I so could have used that scripture! 🙂

    I know there is always sadness and tears at funerals, but I hope and pray there will be some shouting and some praising at mine.


  8. Candra,

    I'm glad you were ministered to. I almost didn't post this because, well, death and funerals make for an awkward topic. However, I was really thinking about a friend fighting for life. As I prayed God told me healing would be quick whether it was physical or permanent.

    He received his permanent healing yesterday. While the community of believers mourns an untimely death, I know that he is shouting, and singing, and dancing. And I pray that something good comes from his death. I hope that someone's salvation comes from his death.


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