A man knocked on my door today to drop off a package and we chatted for a while. He mentioned that his wife had cancer, explaining why he was very careful about wearing a mask when he was around other people. That of course brought up the subject of dying. Both of us commented that we weren’t afraid of dying and that we were ready, whenever it happened. He then noted, “I’ve lived a good life. I’ve never been very religious, but I believe in God and Jesus, so I’m ready.”
That got me to thinking about the multitude of people who could say the words, “I believe in God and Jesus”, and not be prepared for death at all. Too many people fail to understand that the belief that saves fits these words: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” “And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Belief that saves is all-in with Jesus and puts obedience to Jesus above every family member and friend.
That got me to wondering what people mean when they say, “I am prepared to die whenever it happens.” That caused me to do a little internet searching on what experts say about getting ready for dying. One expert suggested this list:
1- Start early.
2- Remember that death is a part of life – a normal, natural, expected part of life.
3- Reject the superstitious belief, common in American culture, that thinking or talking about death makes it happen.
4- Make a “bucket list” of things you want to do, places you want to go, experiences you want to have in the time you have left. Work at checking things off the list. Enjoy yourself.
5- If you are a praying person, use prayer, especially your bedtime prayers, as a way of preparing for death. This too is an age-old practice that was once taught to children, as in the classic bedtime prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
6- Read a little poetry.
7- Say the most important things to the most important people in your life.
Not that these suggestions aren’t some good advice, but you can do all 7 of these things and still be totally unprepared for dying. This list was put together by someone who either didn’t believe in an afterlife, or believes that everyone will go heaven when they die.
NOTE: 1- there is an afterlife; 2- most people will end up in hell after they die, only a few with go to heaven. (at least that’s what Jesus said in Mt. 7:13-14)
Therefore, don’t forget #8- Surrender to Jesus Christ as your LORD and Savior, tell anyone who will listen about what Jesus has done for you and live everyday as His faithful follower. Then you will truthfully be ready for your death, whenever it comes. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at email@example.com.
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