The Bible names and commends individual saints for their work in the Lord’s behalf. Some were dead; some were living. Not a few dead believers are honored in Hebrews 11, from Noah to Rahab. Their works are named. David’s mighty men were named and honored individually (2 Sam 23.8-39). GREAT ROLE MODELS! Nehemiah lists all those who repaired the wall of Jerusalem: “After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah carried out repairs in front of his own quarters” (Neh 3.30c NAS). Paul acknowledges some faithful workers in Romans 16.
Today it is commonplace for pastors and speakers to share certain good characteristics and deeds of the departed saint at funerals. Is there more opportunity awaiting?
In my home state a friend’s wife died recently. Many came to honor this pastor’s wife. The pastor opened it up for people to share. Is this a good way to process grief? Pastor Steven said the only restriction I place on you is that it must glorify the Lord. Then for over an hour people came and shared. His wife had ministered to many children. Her former students of the past 25-30 years came forward and together sung a song she had taught them.
Might an open testimony time be a way to move beyond the occasional, canned, predictable, funeral service? Edify? Encourage? Perfectionists may recoil but we all have a learning curve. If most testimonies glorify God—praise the Lord!