Then he told me about her funeral. With tears slowly welling up in his eyes, he told me that hundreds of people came to the wake and funeral to pay their respects. People he didn't even know told him how his wife had been so good to them. When he checked the little offering box where people put their memorial gifts, he was blown away. He said that two families had given gifts of twenty dollars but the vast majority of people gave gifts of one hundred, two hundred, and even five hundred dollars! He told me he was deeply moved by everyone's generosity to help him with the financial burdens of the wake and funeral.
"People never forget when you do good for them. I was greedy and wanted to keep all the money. For what? So it sits in the bank? She was good to all the people. And all the people remembered and were good to her," he said.
Wow. You know, the end of life often puts the rest of it into perspective. Joe realized that his wife's generosity in life actually made a difference in people's lives and left her with many friends in this world. The Bible tells us that there is certainly more to life than earthly wealth. I was reminded of these passages as I listened to Joe.
I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. -- Luke 16:9
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." -- Matthew 16:19-20
When it comes to money, we can chase after it to amass great wealth for ourselves. In the end, we will be left with no real or true friends and we will be left with a large bank account that means nothing to us when we die. Or, we can be generous with our money to bless others, help them in their times of need, and show them that we care. When we do that, we end up with many friends, opening up opportunities to share the Gospel, and storing up the real rewards for ourselves in Heaven.
Joe realized that his wife had it right and he had it wrong at the end of his life. Now, you and I have a chance to evaluate our lives before we reach the end. Am I hoarding my money for myself? Am I giving generously to others? Will my funeral be filled with hundreds who were blessed by my life? Will I have only a large bank account to show at the end of my life? How can I be more generous this week? These are the things I've been asking myself, hopefully you find them helpful.
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