This past Saturday, I was tasked with preaching a funeral. Not my first, third actually. The first was for friends whose infant died suddenly. The second was for the grandfather of a good friend. But this one was the hardest by far. This one was the funeral of my Dad. When he was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer back in May, he asked me if I'd consider it. Without thinking it through, I said, "Yeah, whatever you want." In the almost 3 months since then, I've had plenty of time to think about it. In the end, it was more about what he wanted and less about what I was comfortable with.
The passage I used was 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I chose it because it hit on two themes that are important to remind people during this solemn occasion; "hope" and "encouragement". Real, true, and lasting hope is only ultimately found in Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection. It's this hope that we need to be encouraging each other with. Not just as we are dealing with the reality of death, but every day!
If you're a believer encourage someone today with the hope that is found in Jesus. If you're not a believer, seek God and ask Him to show you this hope. Everyone needs it, and all of us need to be reminded of it.