WILL OUR PASSING CAUSE REGRETS?
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The leaves fell and rustled over the unkept ground. Some found their way to settle on a forgotten grave. There was no monument; not even a marker.
Our word eulogy is from two Greek words , eu and logia. The modern English word element "eu" retains its meaning, "good, well." Logia means "speaking." Hence, eulogy means to us "praise; good or fine language." Examples are "I have been asked to deliver the eulogy at his memorial service in Edinburgh"; "Jefferson's funeral eulogies still ring in American ears since 1828."
Someone once told me that the Bible's difference of the sins of youth versus the sins of fathers is the perception of imminence of death (1 John 2:13-15). He thought that older people are threatened more with pride in how they will be immortalized in memory. Therefore, they will build monuments or write memoirs.
It is true that our destiny is to die some day. None are exempt as long as the world stands. How will we be remembered? Would there be an eulogy praising us? Or will our absence be a relief like King Jehoram's?
Jehoram was the eldest son of one of my favorite kings, Jehoshaphat. He was thirty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and after eight years he "departed with no one's regret, and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings" (2 Chronicles 21:20, ESV2011).
Was there no national mourning? No funeral procession? He was not buried among the kings. When he died, "no one regretted it." No one was sad to see him go. What a sad statement about someone and the life work that one has done.
Jehoram was married to the family of Ahab (Jezebel's husband) and he rejected God and inherited the life style of Canaan. This was the same life style that resulted in God giving their land to Israel. Now Jehoram was following in Canaan's evil. Therefore, God was displeased with him and allowed political revolts and turmoils in his reign. God allowed an intestinal sickness to attack him.
Jehoram was a selfish person. When he was strengthened in his power with no opposition, he needlessly murdered his brothers. He didn't want to share anything. Being selfish will make you rude. Rudeness and selfishness will hurt your relationships. It will make people hate you. When such a person moves from a company, no one regrets it.
Jehoram had a bad model in Jezebel. Like her, Jehoram had to have his way. Bullies are like that. She was a bully. They appear mean. They talk mean. They intimidate. Some become bullies at school and continue so in life. They become bullies at work. They are bullies at church. They force their ways. No one dare challenges them because they will be attacked. No one regrets their departing.
Jehoram's legacy is a text book for us in how not to treat people. He failed in life and when he was gone, everyone was glad. What a contrast to someone like Tabitha (Dorcas, in Acts 9), who refreshed the souls of those whose lives she touched.
When Dorcas died, all the widows, who met Peter when he came to her home, were weeping and showing clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. The Bible gives her eulogy as "She was full of good works and acts of charity."
Some leaders have erroneously said that good works are not necessary because we are saved only by the grace of God. However, the same verse tells us that the grace that saves is the one that creates us to do God's good works (Ephesians 2:8-11).
When it comes to memorials and eulogies, the one that especially counts is the one that God writes: "Blessed are [you] that die in the Lord for your works do follow you" (Revelations 14:13). And the books will be opened.
Will there be tears of regret when you and I depart?