It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 (ESV)
As I write this morning I am preparing to go to a graveside service of a dear and godly woman in our church. My text for the funeral yesterday was Ecclesiastes 7:2. It’s a curious verse, and it begs the question: how could it possibly be true? It is better to be happy than sad, is it not? A house of feasting is full of joy; a house of mourning is full of sorrow. Give me the house of feasting any day, no?
Maybe, maybe not…if there is something about the mourning that will lead to feasting, maybe I should choose the mourning. In other words, what do you prefer, a day of surgery or a day of Disney? Well, a day of Disney of course, unless the day of surgery will make it possible for me to enjoy Disney another day, and another after that.
If I skip the surgery to go to Disney, I may be the world’s greatest fool.
Mourning makes me think. At a visitation, I view the body of the elderly and now-departed saint, and I see pictures that the family has displayed of their loved one, joyous in his prime, and I remember that, though I am in my prime now, I will not always be. Someday it will be my turn. And I am motivated to get ready. If mourning makes me consider my end and consequently prepare for it by believing the gospel, then a funeral is a very wise use of my time.
For those who believe the gospel will be treated to an endless feast. The living should lay this to heart.