As a pastor I performed numerous funerals. Multiple times more than weddings, unfortunately. At one church, I officiated at three funerals on the same day. Felt like a conveyor belt was needed. Little time to offer anyone some comfort.
Serious stuff funerals. One involved a 9 year old boy, who drowned falling through the ice in a nearby pond seeking to rescue his dog. The dog was saved. He was not. Oh, the screaming, weeping and wailing by family and friends. Can still sense their cries.
Death comes for all. We take nothing with us. No U-Haul trailer behind the hearse. No heavenly forwarding address for income checks. All left behind. All.
Psalm 49 gives us much to chew on this week–‘Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him. For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed…’ (vs. 16-18). Blessing himself? What gives here?
Our psalmist seems to allude to rich folk congratulating themselves, blessing numero uno for how lucky they are. Clever and industrious. How much they’ve gotten away with. But not only those rolling in the dough. Could be any one of us. As in me, I and myself. Really?
Yes…as in taking credit where none is due. Smarty-pants being overly eager to get ahead. Eyes too squarely on the ball. My selfish priorities lining up like ducks in a row. But what’s missing? Something’s left out. You know.
Psalm 49:15 shows its hand–‘But God…’–giving the Lord credit as it’s all due Him. Being grateful and humble. Not grabbing the headlines, or hoarding and craving those pats on the back. After all, pride cometh before…well, you know. I’d rather not be Humpty Dumpty!
And what happens to those who bless themselves? Rarely get what they seek. Accolades elude them. Unsatisfied malcontents. Down in the dumps. Powerful yet pooped out all at the same time.
I wonder how it would be if our praise goes more to the Lord Jesus than anyone or anything else? Giving Him well-deserved credit. How would that be?
Let’s give it the old college try. Pep rally songs and all our thanks to Him!
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for everything. Amen.