Finishing Faithfully 5.0: Eulogy Virtues

Eulogy Virtues

Finishing Faithfully 5.0


With children raised and professional careers winding down, my peers and I look around and discuss how we want to spend our remaining time and talent.

Gated communities with instant access to entertainment and healthy athletic activity are certainly appealing. But wherever we are and whatever age we have attained, I believe there is a cry within the human heart to live for something or someone other than ourselves. To be generous and virtuous and find ways to share the wisdom we have gained over the years though the ups and downs of life.

In his recent book, The Road to Character, David Brooks discusses the difference between the virtues we aspire to at the beginning of our adult lives and the virtues we aspire to as we age. He calls them resume virtues and eulogy virtues.

Resume virtues are the talents we bring to the job market—the important things that build a career and bring external success. Eulogy virtues are deeper…they are a person’s core values that get mentioned at his or her funeral.

This distinction is particularly interesting to me as a woman who, in recent years, has attended far more memorial services than college graduations. As I listen to people share fond memories of a deceased friend, I ask myself…would I be known for that kind of courage or honesty or faithfulness?

Even though honing virtues for a resume is challenging, we have a capable education system that helps with such training. I sense the deepening of character is more difficult, because the course work is primarily the life challenges that come at us, many of them totally unexpected. The only professors we have are the books we read and the wise people with whom we surround ourselves.

What helps us move forward in establishing eulogy virtues? I think it’s the capacity for inner confrontation. We are each endowed with wonderful and unique talents. But at the same time, we have weaknesses and leanings toward sin. Thankfully, our Creator gave us the capacity to struggle with ourselves, make healthier choices along the way, and ultimately grow stronger.

When I am confused and looking for what would be the best choice in a situation, I try to remember to pray and read scripture to discern how God might want to direct me.

I’m sad to say that I don’t always remember to do this right way. But it’s my desire to be faithful in looking to God, first and foremost. Because, if I am seeking to make the best use of the time I have left, I sense that our wonderful Lord who created the entire universe and designed each of us before the foundation of the Earth with gifts and talents uniquely fit for the generation in which we would live…I sense this God will have a far better plan for me than anything I could design.