Joan Rivers, lights, camera, action…and death

9/04/14

“When I die, I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action…I want Craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene!” Rivers wrote. “I want it to be Hollywood all the way. I don’t want some rabbi rambling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents. I don’t want a eulogy; I want Bobby Vinton to pick up my head and sing “Mr. Lonely.” I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyoncé’s.”

Those are the words of the late comedian Joan Rivers; who died on September 4, 2014. She describes what she wants her funeral to be like when she dies.  How she wants to be remembered when her time is up.  She may have been trying to take a lighthearted approach to the subject but that hard truth is, it’s a very sobering thought to think about our own mortality.

Friends, have you ever thought to yourself: “What do I want when I die?” Or better yet – “What do I want AFTER I die?”

One line from Joan’s statement immediately caught my eye. She says: “I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive.”

Do you realize that those who put their faith & trust in Jesus Christ not only have the forgiveness of their sins but also a guarantee of Heaven and a new body when they pass from this life?

The apostle Paul writes in Philippians chapter 3 verses 20-21:

“For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body…”

When we are in Heaven, we will look better and be more alive than ever before!  Do you have a disability?  It will be no more!  Do you want to eat and not have the negative after-affects such as weight gain?  Have a feast!  Does your body constantly remind you of how broken down it is with all of the aches and pains all over the place?  They will be gone!

You see, if you have the guarantee hope of spending eternity with Christ in Heaven one day – you don’t have to be concerned much with what you want your funeral to be like when you die.  I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t be prepared for funeral expenses and such; but, with Christ as your savior, you will have already settled what you will get AFTER you pass from this life to the next which is far greater than what you’re experiencing now. The now is temporary and the later is forever.  Death for the believer is not the end of life on earth but the continuation of it in Heaven.

However, if you do not have Christ – you don’t have this expected hope.  Instead you have torment, deterioration and weeping and gnashing of your teeth with Satan and his followers in Hell.  And perhaps, you do have to be concerned about the last memory your friends and family will have of you at your funeral.  Perhaps, you do want a big show with lights, camera and action because after that, it is all downhill.

So, as you contemplate your life and what you want AFTER you die – I encourage you, if you haven’t already done so, to make the wisest and best decision that will secure your eternal destination: choose Christ that you can live forever, in a better body.

Then, as you wait, with all of the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual aches and pains, for the day that you’re called into His presence, consider the words of Paul as a means of motivation to hang on:

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV

Joan says she wanted lights, camera, action and paparazzi at her funeral.  The Bible makes it very clear that we are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us by faith (Hebrews 12:1).  Just think, if you are a born-again Christian, you will be welcomed by not only your friends and family who made a commitment to Christ by faith but also the great heroes of the Christian faith when you leave this earth! Moses, Noah, Elijah, Paul, Peter, James, and on and on and on.

But all the “lights, camera and action” will be focused on Lord Jesus Christ because He is the grandest subject of them all, who is worthy to be focused upon, worthy to make a scene of and most of wall, worthy to be worshiped.  Why so? Because He is the reason we have victory.  We escaped sin and eternal death and now have everlasting life. And for that, we ought to be grateful.

For this corruptible must put on in-corruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible has put on in-corruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’

‘O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?’

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:53-57 NKJV


Devotional contributor: Samuel Chavez

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