How will you be remembered? What 5 things do you hope will be said at your funeral?

Hopefully, it will not be soon when you or I have people saying things about us at our funeral. But one day it will happen. And I wonder what they’ll say about us.

And, though such an occasion is some way ahead, it’s important to realise that what’s happening right now is going to shape such conversations.

This came home to me recently when marking the passing of a much loved 82-year-old friend. He was renowned for all he had quietly achieved for God’s kingdom and was also regarded as a wonderful ‘uncle’ to scores of young people.

Having never married, and with few family members of his own, this man was unfailingly interested in what the children of his many friends were doing. And was automatically invited to weddings, birthday celebrations, family lunches and the like.

He served on countless boards of Christian agencies and was a stalwart member of his local church. Most of all he was a faithful friend and huge fun to be with.

You and I may not have such a track record of achievement – just like the 400 people who came to his Thanksgiving Service. As I listened to the tributes to his life and character, I couldn’t help musing on what people will say when it’s my turn.

Like you, I hope to be presented in the best possible light – with any annoying characteristics quickly skated over. Perhaps with a gentle joke here and there!

However, this will also be an opportunity for others to assess the kind of person I’ve been and how faithfully I’ve tried to serve the Jesus I committed my life to.

I found myself reflecting about the attitudes and lifestyle needed while we’re still alive if we want positive things to be said when we’ve gone. And here’s my own wish list, which might get you thinking too.


This big word covers much more than how I use my money. Am I ready and willing to show hospitality, spend time and effort on behalf of others, give people the benefit of the doubt, forgive and forget.


Bible passages such as Ephesians 6 listing the fruit of the Holy Spirit, 2 Corinthians 13 describing love and Colossians 3 reminding us of how Christians should live show up the areas that need might need my attention.

Qualities like patience, self-control and humility are tough to keep centre-stage. We can’t develop them without confessing our weaknesses and asking God to help us. So am I doing that?


It’s very easy to be in default ‘complain’ mode, especially as we grow older and face fresh challenges. But thankfulness to God is part and parcel of a healthy prayer-life, with this attitude overflowing in our relationships with others.

It’s about me aiming to see the good in others and appreciate the blessings of each day – however small.


O God, please help me not to become a grumpy old woman!

5.Good company

Our friend had been great to be with because he was so interested other people’s lives. My lesson here is that as we grow older, and our world starts to contract, how vital it is to do whatever it takes to enjoy the company of others. And go out of our way if possible to make them feel special.

That’s my list. What’s yours?

You will never know what’s said when that day comes. But it does seem it’s well worth living as though we just might possibly do so.

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Celia Bowring
Celia isn’t retired yet – although she’s recently changed from being office-based to working from home. Celia writes the CARE Prayer Diary along with many other resources. She also chairs Pray for Schools. And loves being a hands-on grandmother.

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The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years"

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife