I am not a fan of eulogies. I’ve told you before that one of the aspects of being a pastor that I was definitely not prepared for was death. It affects me. Some pastors tell me they love funerals, and can’t stand weddings. I’m the exact opposite. I love weddings. Funerals, though? No. I’m just not a fan. Of course I officiate funerals, and I hope I do well. I believe they are a very important event for the family and friends of the deceased. Grieving is important. Thinking about matters of life after death is important. And almost always a funeral includes a eulogy. You know that speech that tells the history of the person who died, praising that person?
I have given numerous eulogies over the years, and many times I don’t like them. It’s not just the fact that we are talking about dead person, which can be depressing. It is that so often in eulogies we straight up tell lies. Most often the family wants you to tell a totally positive story about the deceased, even if everyone knows the deceased had numerous, even glaring faults.
This week as we continue our study through1st Peter, I was shocked to learn something brand new about eulogies. We’ll be looking at 1 Peter 3:8-12 all week. Read it for yourself.
One phrase I want you to listen for is: if people insult you, eulogize them! What could Peter mean by that? Oh, you don’t see that phrase in there? I promise, it’s there! I’ll show you this week! What’s even more important than finding that phrase is what it means and how we can apply it to our relationships in the church family.
Peter says in Verse 8 “Finally” and by that he means “here is the end of the matter”, or “let me sum up what I am talking about.” For a few weeks now Peter has been talking about many different relationships that Christians experienced in his day. If you want, you can review the posts and you’ll see that Peter talked about the following:
- How Christians should relate to governing authorities.
- How Christian slaves should relate to their masters…even mean ones.
- How husbands and wives should relate to one another.
Peter taught a common principle that Christians should apply to all these relationships: submission. That’s not a very popular idea in our era, but as we saw, Peter was teaching Christians to submit first and foremost to God and the mission of his Kingdom. If you want to learn the specifics of what Peter said about each of those other relationships, feel free to scan back through previous posts.
What we see today in verse 8 is that he is now bringing his thoughts to a close. This week Peter is going to talk about how people in a church family should treat one another. As I said above, he is going to say, “If someone insults you, eulogize ’em.” Next week, Peter changes the focus to how Christians should relate to people outside their church family.
So his “finally”, his concluding remarks will cover the next few weeks. As he goes on in verse 8, notice that he says, “all of you” and begins listing adjectives. He is saying “Church…Christians…every single one of you, let me describe what you should be. Then he lists five adjectives that should define Christian relationships in a church family. What adjectives do you think should define a church family? Tomorrow we’ll look at the first one. And I promise…the surprising thing I learned about eulogy is coming later this week!