Pushin’ Up Daisies: The Value of Rubies

By Tracy Renee Lee

As designated by our government’s Standard of Living Index, she was not a woman of great wealth. Upon her death, entry-level merchandise was purchased for her burial. To those of us working at the funeral home, it seemed as though her funeral would be mediocre.

Her family prepared their program, printed their service folders, produced their memory movie, assembled and delivered their own floral arrangements, along with other tasks customarily performed by the funeral home. They were indeed frugal people and as funeral day approached, there was nothing to suggest that her funeral would surpass ordinary.

Her visitation began Friday evening. Guests trickled in a few here and a few there; they did not linger. They offered their condolences to her son and then took their leave. About halfway through the evening, he asked to use a microphone.

Suddenly, guests stopped leaving. They assembled in the chapel and each found a seat. Little by little, as guest after guest took the lectern, it became clear that the woman lying in state had been extraordinary while living. One after another, they would speak of her generosity to them: groceries delivered to many upon hard times, air conditioners freely given to those suffering blazing temperatures while combating illnesses and recuperation, financial support to friends who suffered monetary setbacks while they worked to regain self-reliance, and emotional support and donations to those suffering bereavement. She shared her heart and sustenance freely with those in crisis.

Her funeral was the following morning. I expected a small gathering. Her family, neighbors, friends, and community began arriving 90 minutes before services were due to begin. Before I knew it, our chapel was at capacity. I opened the overflow to accommodate the large gathering. Within minutes, all seats were occupied. I began seating guests in the foyer; soon it was filled as well. I brought out event seating and her services began.

Her eulogy was delivered. It was filled with deeds of love and selfless acts of generosity. The woman lying in the plain white casket had freely given everything she had to anyone standing in need.

Upon her death, entry-level merchandise was purchased for her burial, but her funeral was far from mediocre. Her generosity and service to others cloaked her funeral with gratitude and expressions of love. I was humbled and deeply honored to bury this woman of profound character.

Her deeds surpassed the value of rubies. (Proverbs 31:10-20)