In the last few months or so, I have been “bumping into” a lot of death and dying issues. I lost a good friend to a sudden heart attack. Been spending quite a bit of time with a friend who is in a “stage 4” battle with cancer. Encouraged a friend who lost their mom. And was told by another friend who is struggling with health issues that she expects me to do her memorial service.
Maybe it’s my age (68) or maybe it’s just one of those transient stages of life, but the topic of being heaven bound seems all around me.
To help set a balanced perspective to this topic, I couldn’t help but think of the verses Paul wrote to his protégé, Timothy:
“For I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (II Tim. 4:6-8)
I think it’s interesting that Paul avoided the actual word “death.” Instead he referred to his “departure.” That Greek word conveys the idea of taking down a tent and moving on or the idea of letting a boat loose at the dock and watching it set sail across the water. In either case, he is making certain his audience understood that death is not the end.
If perspective is everything, thinking about our “moving on” is a good thing. We just need to make sure we have given some thought to our spiritual legacy. Even Abraham gave some gifts before he died (Gen. 25:5).
Here are a few suggestions to consider this week: Make a list of the most influential folks that you have met. Write about them. Leave the notebook or file for your grandchildren to enjoy. Make lots of notes in the margin of your bible. Include some dates and context when God answered specific prayer. Write a note to your child in the flyleaf. What a gift to treasure!
If you keep a prayer journal, write a note to someone dear in the front and make sure it gets passed along to him or her. They will love “watching” God bless you down through the years.
Write a note or two on the back of pictures in your family album (or on those pictures you have stuffed into that shoe box). Make it personal. Tell about what was going on just before or after that picture. Make sure your family knows how to distribute those sweet pictures with notes.
When it comes time to pick up our tent and move on, these thoughtful gestures will mean a great deal to our family and friends. It will be like leaving breadcrumbs for them to follow…right into the presence of Christ!