The Wisdom of Going to a Funeral

12 Dec

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.


Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “The Wisdom of Going to a Funeral

  1. Connie Hopp

    December 13, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Thankfully my choice to go to Disney next week is not at the expense of some needed surgery. I do get the point of the message but I also read the chapter on celebration in the book you loaned me on Sunday and that is what we intend to do. Thanks pastor Roger.


  2. rogerknowlton

    December 13, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Great Connie! Enjoy your celebration, and I’m glad you’re not sacrificing surgery too!


  3. Kathy Clements

    January 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Rog,
    I’m just reading your blog for the first time and am enjoying your posts (I hope that’s what you call them ;).
    Since I work in the business of death and dying, I found this post quite interesting; we live in a society that would rather deny death and mourning than face it. We no longer have have as many funerals as we have “celebrations of life”; some are chosing not to acknowlegde mourning at all by forgoing a public funeral where loved ones can come together and mourn in unity.
    More importantly, we avoid the instruction to “count our days”; to realize that we to will face an end to our lives and to contemplate on what God would have us do with the time remaining. We prefer to have joy and avoid pain; however it is in the pain that true joy can surface. I found this out recently when my mother was dying; while the circumstances were extremely painful, I found God’s mercy piercing through with an unexplainable presence of joy and peace. Perhaps this came through a submission on my part to His sovereignty – not always easy to do in adverse circumstances, but it was these very circumstances that drove me to my knees in submission to His will. My mom died; I went to the house of mourning and cried but I came through the experience changed – Praise God!



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