Living to Die


(This is an excerpt from the book What's On the Other Side by Brent Top.)

Those are important questions that we all need to frequently consider. Funerals aid us in much-needed soul searching. Not long ago, I attended the funeral service of a dear friend and colleague. It was deeply moving and the Spirit was there in rich abundance. Most touching were the tributes paid by his children. There was no mention of his positions of prominence or scholarly publications. Little was said of his career contributions. Instead the focus was totally on his love for others, his thoughtfulness and kindness, his roles as husband, father, and grandfather, and most of all, his faith and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. As I left that funeral, I wondered what my family and friends would say about me. What mark am I leaving in this world in the hearts and lives of those around me? Are my priorities right? Am I putting first things first or am I distracted and diverted, pursuing things that when the moment of death comes will not seem very important at all? As I took spiritual inventory of my life, I realized that every day, every moment I am writing my own eulogy. My words, my actions, my thoughts, my love are being written in my heart and soul and are likewise being recorded in the hearts of my family and fellowmen. If I don’t like how that eulogy is being written, then I need to change it, and I can do that through repentance and striving to do better and be better. That is one of the great blessings of the gospel. Daily preparing for dying, as strange as that may sound, powerfully affects our daily living. As Shakespeare wrote: “Be absolute for death; either death or life / Shall thereby be the sweeter.”5


5. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, 3.1.5–6. References are to act, scene, and lines.


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