I’ve officiated at many funerals and attended even more. Some home-goings draw thousands who come to say goodbye to a good friend or influential person and to express sympathy to the family. Others draw only a handful; either the deceased had no family living or very few friends.
But never have I been to a funeral where no one bothered to show up or didn’t care that the person died. Jehoram’s was such a funeral. He passed away, to no one’s regret (II Chronicles 21:20).
And it’s no wonder. After he was crowned king, he killed all his brothers-probably out of jealousy, and other leaders in Israel. He married wicked King Ahab’s daughter Athaliah, led God’s people down a path of disobedience, built pagan shrines and encouraged the people to worship pagan gods.
Jehoram’s disobedience wasn’t without consequence. Foreigners attacked his city and stole his valuables-including his sons and wives. Only his youngest son escaped. A severe intestinal disease finally did him in, and when he died “Good riddance” tolled throughout the kingdom.
Our influence determines whether people care when we die. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t care what people say about me after I die,” but I do. I want my family, friends and even strangers to remember me long after I’m gone-to rehash stories, to ponder over pictures, to reread my books. I want to leave a good influence others will remember.
Good and bad influences have a tendency to hang around for years, but when we love God supremely, we’ll contribute good things to other’s lives and our world that will remain long after we’ve gone. Will anyone be sorry when you die?
Prayer: Father in heaven, help us build good influences that linger after our death.