Articles Reb 1

Published on March 28th, 2017 | by Kristin Renfer

What Will They Say At Your Funeral?

It all started at a memorial service I recently attended.

The woman whose life was being celebrated and remembered came to its conclusion sooner than most would expect. But it wasn’t the life cut seemingly too short that struck me, but the stories and testimonies people were sharing.

She was a believer in the risen Lord; however, few mentioned or noted her faith and living hope. All memories, influence, and lessons shared were centered around her love for family and deep care for other people. Her whole life was summed up in the well-known adage, “It’s not the years in a life, but the life in those years,” and that she lived those years well. 

While these are commendable and honorable qualities, I was saddened by the lack of kingdom work and labor for the Lord mentioned.

But then I was immediately sobered by this dawning thought and realization…

Who will be at my memorial service, and what will they say?

Will people remember me for my love, loyalty, and friendliness? Or will they remember how devoted and passionate I was toward God? Will my legacy be that of a life well lived, or of a life lived for God?

It wasn’t with morbidity or aghast that these thoughts sprung into my mind, but rather with a sense of self-examination of my life’s purpose. When the day comes, I don’t want people to take the microphone and wax eloquent on my personality traits, character qualities, or even heroic and great deeds.

I want people to remember and be impacted by my love for the Lord, and the life that was lived in light of that amazing love.

I want people to remember my care and concern for their eternal destination and spiritual well-being, not just how their week went. I don’t want people to only remember my steadfast love, but that through me they saw the love of the Savior. It’s not my friendliness towards the loner that I want raised up, but God’s heart of love, acceptance, and welcome towards the outcast.

It’s not the years of my life or life in those years I want future generations to know about, but the One for whom my life was lived.

This is the life I want to be remembered for living, and this is the legacy I want to leave. So now is the time for me to start living that life. With purpose. With direction. With urgency.

While this line of thought and self-reflection started over a month ago, the brevity of life has weighed even more heavily upon me with my own grandmother’s recent passage into glory. Though I know where I’m destined and long for the moment when I’ll see my Savior face to face, I can’t help but wonder what my life’s legacy will be.

Who will be at my memorial, and what will they say?

Some of you may already be preparing for eternity as the days and years speed forward. But for others, these types of thoughts aren’t even on your radar. You are new to life, the world lies open and waiting before you, and life seems endless with eternity a distant reality.

However, the truth is that life is a mere moment. Scripture tells us that it passes and fades like the grass of the field. It’s a mere breath, a brief iota of time. Therefore, we need to start soberly pondering the brevity and fleetingness of life.

God has given each of us a set number of years—for some their allotment exceeds a century, others less than a decade—but we aren’t privy to the exact number. For all we know, we might already be a third, half, or three-quarters of the way through our brief moment called life. Therefore, we don’t have time to waste!

So I ask you…who will be at your memorial service, and what will they say? After you’ve left this world, who will remember your short life and be better because of it? Who will be pointed to the Savior by how you live and prioritize the things and people in your life?

As believers in the name of the risen Son of God, Jesus Christ, we will spend eternity with the Creator of the universe, but until then, what kind of impact do we want to have on His kingdom?

What impact will I have? What impact will you have?

As the widely known and used maxim states, “It’s not the years in a life, but the life in those years.” 

So how are you going to live yours?

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” – Ephesians 4:1

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” – C.T. Studd

Editor’s note: this is the second post in Kristin’s Brevity of Life series, which you can find on her blog here.

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About the Author

(21) has a passion for God’s Word and encouraging other believers to deepen their walk with God. You can read more of her writing on her devotional blog/website So I Fix My Eyes… Kristin also enjoys cooking, blessing others with music, and drawing believers before God’s throne through worship.

  • Emma

    This was a great reminder for me! Thanks for writing, Kristen!

  • @kristinrenfer:disqus Thank you for writing this! To live purposefully for Christ while on this earth, it is vital to be reminded again and again of how brief life really is. What pierced my heart the most: “For all we know, we might already be a third, half, or three-quarters of the way through our brief moment called life. Therefore, we don’t have time to waste!” Sometimes, I am tempted to think that I have years ahead of me; and that at 20 years old, life is just beginning. Then, we will be traveling to the grocery store or headed home and there is a near miss. With heart pounding, reality hits hard. We are fragile. Our dependency is utterly upon the Lord–who holds our times in His hands {Psalm 31:15}.

    • Yes, youth tends to deceive us and make us believe that we have an endless life stretching out before us. But the truth is we don’t. So may we faithfully use our days to glorify Him!

  • Gloria Kluth

    Excellent reminder! We recently attended a memorial service as well and I couldn’t help thinking the same things.

  • cowboyclayt

    Great article! I really needed this! Thanks so much!

    • You’re very welcome, @disqus_qoLnKYghml:disqus ! Glad it blessed you!

  • Kaitlyn R.

    This is such a good reminder, Kristin! Thank you for sharing! As young people, it can be easy to think that life stretches on forever, but like you pointed out, our lives are brief vapors. May we use the time that God gives us well, building up His kingdom instead of our own!

    • Thanks for your feedback, @disqus_Khykm40PeH:disqus! Amen!

  • ToHimWhoOvercomes

    This was a great article! Everyone should prepare diligently for their last days on earth. Not for nothing does the Bible say: Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof. (Ecc 7:8) Not for nothing was Jesus’s death the most important event in history.

    • Thank you @tohimwhoovercomes:disqus! I’m glad God used it to encourage and bless you. Thanks for reading!

  • Eliza Downer


    “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” – C.T. Studd

    • Thanks, @elizadowner:disqus! Yes, I think this is one of my favorite quotes.

  • Wow! Just… Wow! This was so beautiful Kristin, awesome job!

    • Thanks, @Bekah14:disqus! Glad you were blessed by it!

  • The Bean


  • Very awesome! That is a very good question too, one everyone should think about. After reading this, now I am asking myself what would they say at my funeral if I did that? And, what would they say NOW if I did that? I agree with this article, it was very well written.

    • Thank you, @disqus_c3DMB8yCua:disqus! Yes, focusing on the brevity of life does make one truly ponder life’s impact and how our actions or words affect others. Glad you were challenged by this article. Thanks for reading!

  • Chloe Bowling

    This was very thought provoking and incredibly well written. Thank you!

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