I’ve been reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. One of the habits is “Begin with the end in mind.” He asks the reader to visualize his/her funeral, reflecting on what family, friends, co-workers and church members would say (or what we would hope they’d say).
It got me thinking. What if Jesus came back to earth to perform our funerals? What would He say about our lives? We get a hint in Matthew 25 when we read, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
But what specifically would He say about my life? I believe we’ll start a growth revolution if we take a moment to think about what He would say. To do that, ask yourself five questions.
- What would Jesus say about my marriage? Have I considered my spouse more important than myself? Have I learned the joy of backing down? Have I served? Have I shared my heart? Have I prayed with and for my spouse? Have I said hard things because I’m passionate about my spouse’s growth?
- What would Jesus say about my parenting? Have I taught my kids right and wrong by my behavior? Have I become the person I want my kids to become? Have I focused on launching my kids well? Have I demonstrated Jesus to my kids? Have I sacrificed? Have I seen them sacrifice for each other? Have I prayed for them? Have I engaged with them? Have I demonstrated the parenthood and love of God? Or have I created barriers to my kids’ understanding of God?
- What would Jesus say about my friendships? Have I loved my friends beyond platitudes? Did I become interruptible? Confrontable? Did I foster fond affection and grace, or were my friends afraid to say hard things? Have I built in quality time with my friends? Do my friends know my affection for them? Have I dared to let them into the inner parts of my heart? Have I prayed with my friends and let them pray for me?
- What would Jesus say about my work? Did I practice resilience when hard things happened? Did I trust in God’s sovereignty when circumstances were hard? Was I faithful in small things? Have I kept an eternal perspective at work? Have I loved those I’ve had the privilege of mentoring? Have I chased after wise counsel? Have I sought to bless people? Have I given my expertise freely? Have I kept my priorities away from the love of money? Have I been faithful in what God has entrusted to me? Have I had integrity? Have I been honest in my business dealings, including taxes, reporting, and accountant things? Have I welcomed accountability?
- What would Jesus say about my Christianity? Have I favored cool people over overlooked ones? Have I helped the poor? Visited prisoners? Discipled people? Held my positions and possessions loosely? Gone on mission (wherever that might be)? Have I kept the Kingdom of God in mind? Have I moved toward people even when tasks overwhelmed? Have I taken care of my body? Have I worshipped idols? Become enslaved to things that don’t edify? Have I abandoned myself in worship? Have I valued and lived the Bible? Have I listened and obeyed the Holy Spirit? Have I cherished control and stability over following Jesus?
These aren’t easy questions. Here’s my assignment. Print off this blog and cram it in your journal this week. Later, when you have some moments of silence, answer them. Honestly. Where you find an ache in your heart is where you’re not living in light of what Jesus wants you to be.
But don’t beat yourself in the aftermath. Simply surrender. Something like, “Jesus, I can’t live the Christian life without you, in my own strength. I surrender. I give up. Please forgive me. Empower me to love You, my family, and my friends well. Work through me. Do new things. Amen.”
And, then, sing this song: