Will Your Eulogy Reflect Jesus?
In Public Speaking class we are working on “special occasion speeches.” Students are writing their eulogies as if they lived to ninety and are reflecting on their lives. When their time is up, hopefully at a ripe old age, what will they want the most important people in their lives to say about them? Who is the person they want to become? What do they want their kids to say about them? Their spouse? Siblings? Closest friends? It feels like an important assignment for seventeen and eighteen-year old kids to think about. Students asked me if I would complete the assignment to share with them as well. While they dream of their futures, it’s challenging as an almost forty-year old to reflect in the middle of the journey.
The book of Acts has become a favorite of mine. I love to read of the excitement and wonder that went with building the Church in it’s infancy. There were so many unknowns and obstacles to overcome. It’s encouraging to see how God used people just as they were and invited them to keep taking the next step and trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit. One verse that keeps coming to mind as I work through my own eulogy is found in Acts 4 when Peter and John go before the Sanhedrin after making a lame man walk. After speaking before the religious leaders, Act 4:16 says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
And there it is.
One small pearl of wisdom I have gained in the twenty years since I was the age of my current students. You can dream and set goals and have all kinds of grand plans, but life never follows our instructions. No matter where life takes you, just be remembered as someone who has been with Jesus. Through all the uncertainty and difficulty, Peter and John continued to accept the invitation for participation. God is always at work in our world and we get to enter in the fun as life provides all kinds of obstacles and challenges.
The religious leaders didn’t know what to do with Peter and John and released them with the warning to stop speaking in Jesus name. But Peter and John replied that they couldn’t help speaking about what they had seen and heard.
My prayer as students think about the possibilities of their lives while writing their eulogies is that their hearts aches to align with God’s redemptive story weaved throughout history. No matter what their stories may hold, they can’t help but speak about all the goodness they have seen and heard by being with Jesus.