How Do You Hope to Die?

Maybe this seems like a morbid topic, but for all of us, death may not be imminent but it is certain.  I lost a close family member recently — he died unexpectedly, in his sleep.  I said to my husband, “isn’t this the best way to die?  No drawn out painful last illness, no time to dwell on what we’ve lost or won’t get to accomplish.”   His answer was, “not really.  I think I would prefer to have a chance to say good bye and tell people all the things I hadn’t gotten around to saying.”

That made me remember Jesus.  He knew he was going to die.  He told his disciples clearly, over and over, although they never seemed to quite believe Him.  On his final day he took some specific actions:

  • He spent time in fellowship with his loved ones, the disciples.  He clearly planned this ahead of time, securing a place for the Passover Supper. (Luke 22:8-13)
  • He washed their feet, as a way to emphasize once more the important values of humility, sacrifice and service he had been trying to each them. (John 13:13-17)
  • He established an important tradition that would continue to evoke His presence with them and love for them. (Mark 14:22-25)
  • He prayed for them, and for the believers who would come after them. (John 17:1-26)

We’re not Jesus and we don’t know exactly when our last day will arrive:

“No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.”  Ecclesiastes 8:8

However, in all things, we should strive to imitate Him.  John tells us:

“By this we may be sure that we are in him:  whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way as he walked.”  1 John 2:5-6

Death is a sure thing.  Let’s focus on Jesus and make our death a good one, whenever it comes. Say and do the things that are important, now.  Don’t wait.

For more about death see these posts:

The Darkness of Death

“Even unto death”

Your Dash

 

 

 

A Sacrificial Example

He (Job) said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there;  the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;  blessed be the name of the Lord.”  Job 1:21

 

My friend, Paul, was a good man and he was dying. After retiring from a successful career, he spent much of his time volunteering at the local rescue mission, working with alcoholics and addicts.  He was a faithful, generous member of our congregation and an example of Christian living to all who knew him. 

 

The rare and aggressive form of leukemia which Paul contracted did not respond to treatment.  Yet he did not rail against his fate or question God’s goodness. He simply continued to use the time God had given him.  Each time he was hospitalized he pushed his IV pole through the wards, handing out Bibles and telling others about Jesus. 

 

Paul knew that everything he had belonged to God:  his time, his money, even his life.  He spent it all wisely.  His life was a “living sacrifice.”

 

Gracious God, teach us to remember that everything comes from your hand.  Help us to use all our circumstances as an opportunity to praise and thank you.  Amen 

 

For further reading check out Lamentations 3:1-24; Philippians 1:12-30; Matthew 26:36-42; Psalm 23

Who has been an example of living sacrifice to you?