Better than a Eulogy

We laughed hard like new friends in Christ can do. Unintended, it bubbled out as the full weight of my words fell around us. 

“I’m glad I got to eulogize you while you’re still living,” I quipped to my friend. 

“Gee,” she responded, “I’m glad too!” 

And that’s how the laughter began. We were squeezed into my hotel room, all eight of us, perched on the edges of beds, on lawn chairs dragged in from the balcony, and on the floor. I was up from Columbia, South Carolina, and they were down from Ridgway, Pennsylvania. We had gathered for the Women to Women Spring Retreat in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and we were sisters. 

With the exception of my friend Linnea, I’d never met these women, yet that day, over chocolate and laughter, we became friends. Our common link was Linnea, whose birthday we had gathered to celebrate. 

As we shared her favorite dessert and introduced ourselves, I answered the question, “How did you and Linnea meet?” 

“From the first day we knocked on her door to invite her family to church, she’s been a beautiful example of a godly woman,” I said. One story led to another, and the respect and admiration I have for my friend poured out. 

“Linnea modeled Christian parenting to me.” 

“She was an example of hard work and self-less dedication.” 

“She welcomed us and our colicky baby when no one else did.” 

“She taught me how to camp and how to make strawberry jam.” 

“She makes the best blueberry pie, baked beans, and applesauce.” 

As I shared the reasons why I loved and respected my friend, I watched the women from her church nod and smile. They knew what I was talking about, because they, too, had been blessed by her friendship and godly example. 

“I’m glad I got to eulogize you while you are still living,” I joked to Linnea, and that’s when the laughter began. 

Recently, in my quest to read through the Bible in a year, I read a similar “eulogy” in Luke 7

“There is not a greater prophet born of woman than John the Baptist,” Jesus said. And then, before the multitudes, he spoke of John’s faithfulness, self-sacrifice, and integrity. 

I hope Jesus’ words of affirmation and commendation got back to John, languishing in prison and not long for this world. He needed to hear the much-deserved “well done.” But even if he didn’t, Jesus immortalized him forever as an uncompromising example of a follower of Christ. 

As I said to the women who ate birthday cake in my hotel room, we need to speak our words of love and commendation on this side of eternity, so the person who deserves them can also be blessed. 

Why do we reserve our tributes for funerals and graveside services, I wonder? 

We’re certainly able to wax eloquent about things of lesser importance. When something or someone is worthy of praise, we should be willing to talk about it. Or write a note, or tell the person face to face. Godly deeds, people of integrity, and acts of faith are rare. We should celebrate them whenever we can. 

How about you? Is there someone who has impacted your life by his or her godly example? Why not tell them today what their life of faith has meant to you? And if you’d like, leave a comment below and tell the rest of us about them. I’d love to hear your stories. 

If you liked this post, you might enjoy "Love Smells Like Pancakes."

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