My Favorite Story to Use at Funerals

Adapted from The Funeral Encyclopedia by Charles L. Wallis

Harold E. Johnson tells a story of two strangers, a small boy and an older man, fishing from the banks of the Mississippi.  As time passed they discovered that, although the fishing was rather poor, the conversation was good. By the time the sun began to sink at the end of the day they had talked of many things.  Around the bend up river from them came a large river boat.


When the boy saw the boat, he began to shout and to wave his arms so that he could attract the attention of those on board.  The man watched for some time and then told the boy he was foolish. “That boat is on its way down river to some unknown place and it surely won’t pull over to pick up some small boy.”

But suddenly the boat began to slow down and then it moved toward the river bank.  To the man’s amazement, the boat came near enough to the shore that a gang-plank could be lowered.

The boy entered the boat and, turning to his new friend on shore, said: “I am not foolish, mister.  You see, my father is captain of this boat and we’re going to a new home up the river.”

Sometimes life is like that.  There are times when the ship of death makes an unexpected stop along the river of life and, to our surprise, picks up a passenger.  We do not always understand the timing.  It can come very unexpectedly to us or sometimes it can seem to take it’s time.

I wish I could say something that would take away the sting of death. I wish the sadness would go away. But I want to assure you of one thing:  “My father” is the captain of that boat, and it is heading to a new home.  Death is not the end, but it is the beginning of a new adventure. And the only way that the sting of death with be no more is if you trust in the Father.



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