How To Write A Memorable Eulogy — Example Memorial Service Included

The eulogy is one of the most important speeches one could deliver as it pays tribute to the meaning of a life in the presence of those mourning the loss. It is a solemn occasion as friends and family, often separated by hundreds of miles and many years, gather to pay a final tribute to a loved one. In most cases it is a celebratory time of a life well lived. Tragic situations can provide an opportunity to develop sympathy for the deceased or remember Man Sitting At Gravesitethe important lessons a life cut short. It is the final public reflection of the life that has passed and a means of providing comfort and closure for the survivors. We do disservice when we pull out a standard funeral service from a book of stock event speeches. A vague speech about death and remembrance is equally lacking. A eulogy should memorialize the end of life with an exclamation point, not a whimper.

Why A Good Eulogy Is Important

Preparing the eulogy or tribute

Gathering material on the deceased

Choose material that fits the narrative

Choose an organizational method

Organization types

Ending the eulogy

Concluding observations

Example Memorial Service

All My Lame Excuses (and 5 ways to get rid of them)

Excuse. Sounds like a reasonable word. Acceptable. Perhaps even respectable. The word “excuse” describes a plea or request to be released from a promise or obligation or an appeal for forgiveness for failing to meet an agreement. So an excuse is something I offer when I’m not doing what I should be doing, failing to keep a promise, or as part of an apology for not doing what I said I would do. Excuses sound fine to a rationalizing mind but under the harsh light of the truth, they look pretty weak and ugly.

How many excuses do you generate in a day and for what?

  • Do you make excuses at school for why you didn’t have an assigment or do well on a test?
  • Do you make excuses to the coach or teacher for why you didn’t give 100% or perform well?
  • Do you make excuses to your parents for why you didn’t do your chores?
  • Do you make excuses to God for why you can’t study your Bible or spend time with Him in prayer?
  • Do you make excuses to yourself for why you didn’t stay on the exercise program, diet, or daily practice?

See, we even make excuses to ourselves…AND BELIEVE THEM! The better approach is just to admit that we gave up, didn’t give our best, got distracted, or whatever, then apologize and fulfill our commitment.

If we continue to offer excuses people will learn not to trust us. If we keep giving ourselves excuses, we limit and cripple ourselves and will eventually expect less of ourselves. As Benjamin Franklin said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

5 Ways to Eliminate excuses

  1. Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. You have a right to refuse anyone’s request for a favor and still be a good person. Recognize that the person might be disappointed but they would rather get an honest “no” from you and find someone else to fulfill their request than to get a “yes” then endure the frustration when you don’t keep your word. Jesus said to let your “yes” be “yes” and “no” be “no” and that anything beyond that was evil, Matthew 5:37.
  2. Keep your commitments and promises. It is good to make good promises and some commitments. If you have given your word, make haste to fulfill the obligation. You will preserve your integrity and the trust of others. Keeping your commitments strengthens the “no” that you must give for people learn that they can depend on your “yes” and “no”. As Elbert Hubbard, American writer, said, “Don’t make excuses–make good.”
  3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasguest/5061459807/sizes/s/in/photostream/
    By Thomas Guest via Flickr (Creative Commons)

  4. Eat the toad. Excuses often follow procrastination. You agree to something, put it off telling yourself that you will get around to the task (excuse to yourself), then finally abandon the task and generate an excuse. If you absolutely had to eat a live toad every day when should you do it? First thing in the morning of course! You do it, get it out of the way, and you don’t have to dread it, put it off, brood over it, or kick yourself for not doing it. Don’t make an excuse–eat the toad, get it over with, and go on with your life.
  5. Embrace a “no excuses” policy. I used to keep a sign with what I understand is the motto of the British Foreign Office: “Never excuse. Never explain. Never complain.” If you are doing what you supposed to be doing, you should not have to explain or excuse your actions. If you commit to not giving excuses you have to commit to keeping your word. Remember that excuses weakens, execution strengthens.
  6. Practice at home. Decide that you will not offer any more excuses to your parents or God. You will “obey them in the Lord for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). Strive for completion of your promises and obligations.If you fail, give them a straightforward apology and ask what you can do to correct the situation: no excuses or reasons for failure then strive to do better in the future. Don’t offer God lame excuses for not praying, studying, or doing other work in service to Him. Admit your failures, ask His forgiveness, then make specific plans for how you can fulfill these expectations (which ultimately are for your good anyway!)

This Nike commercial might inspire you to give up your excuses today.

Encouraging Words

The Christian’s language must be godly and reflect a heart consecrated for God.  Paul commanded the Ephesians to let no corrupt communication proceed from their mouths but rather words of edification and grace, Ephesians 4:29.  He wrote the Colossians to walk wisely around worldly people and to speak gracefully and thoughtfully, Colossians 4:6.  He told Titus to encourage the young men to have sound speech that could not be condemned, Titus 2:8.

Our words must encourage and edify all men, especially our brethren.  Our speech must be graceful, or beautiful.  We must speak words of kindness.  When we must speak tough words, such as words of rebuke, we must still speak with grace and love, Ephesians 4:15.

Our words can comfort the downhearted, 1 Thessalonians 5:14. Too many brethren suffer without a word of exhortation from loving brethren. We pray for these individuals but we should also call or send a card to show our concern. Since we have been comforted by God, we should comfort others, 2 Corinthians 1:4. 

Christians must always be ready always to give a defense of our faith, with a meek and fearful spirit, 1 Peter 3:15.  Proverbs 15:28: “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.”  Christians must study the word to prepare a scriptural defense of his belief.  A foolish person, on the other hand, will answer “my church believes…,” or “my preacher says…,” or “I think…” We cannot answer the world in its folly.  We must know why we believe what we believe and be able to defend it with scripture.  When we do this, we will take our tongue, that unruly evil, and use it for good.

Fighting Words

We must watch our language when we are angry.  James wrote, “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  Many people have damaged or destroyed their reputation because they would restrain their tempers.  Anger acts like an intoxicant that can cause one to lose control and do or say things he typically would not.  Christians must have their tempers under our control, to “be angry and sin not.”  Paul condemned the following types of wrathful language in Colossians 3:8:

  • Anger:  An excitement of the mind and violent passion.  W.E. Vine* suggests that this is a settled or abiding condition of the mind that frequently has a view towards revenge.
  • Wrath:  The outburst resulting from anger inside.
  • Malice:  “A disposition or intent to injure others for gratification of anger” (David Lipscomb).
  • Blasphemy (KJV – railing):  Scornful and derisive language directed at man or God.  “To blame with bitterness” (Lipscomb).
  • Add to this list gossiping and backbiting that is condemned in 2 Corinthians 12:20.  Gossip pushes another person down in order to lift up the speaker.

No one speaks wrathful language in love and it does not edify the hearer.  It tears at a person, as a wild animal would devour his helpless prey.  When we talk with our spouses, parents, children, and friends, we must be especially careful not to allow our familiarity to be a license for such shameful speech.  Consider Proverbs 15:1-2:  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”  The prudent man controls his anger, Proverbs 12:16.

*Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Filthy Language

Christians must put away sinful speech that characterizes the world.  A distinguishing characteristic that may identify us as Christians is pure speech.  The Bible condemns bad language that is not fitting for saints in Ephesians 5:4.

  • Filthiness:  Can be described as obscenity. Opposite of  purity.  Something shameful and dirty.
  • Foolish talking:  Silly talking. Vine’s defines it as dull, foolish and stupid talking.  Trench describes it as the “talk of fools.”  McKnight describes it as language in which one’s neighbor is rendered ridiculous and contemptible, buffoonery.
  • Filthy language (KVJ -coarse jesting):  Obscene or dirty jokes and filthy innuendo.  It is language that is twisted to mean filthy things.

Paul wrote that filthy language is not proper for Christians.  Some make the life of Christ appear foolish by their humor and their speech.  Imagine one who uses filthy language most days then invites someone to a gospel meeting or condemns some false practice using the scriptures.  Filthy language so pollutes the reputation of a person so that even his good speech is tainted.

Peter provides us a clear example of the worldly example of filthy language.  During Jesus’ trial, Peter was in a courtyard with the crowd that arrested Jesus.  Several people recognized Peter and knew that he had been with Jesus.  Peter denied the charge vehemently. After further accusations, he began to curse and swear to prove that he had not been with Jesus, Matthew 26:73-74.  If we curse and swear, what does it say about our relationship to Jesus?