This past summer my wife and I visited our home town in northern Ohio. We spent the better part of one day walking through a cemetery where my parents and my wife’s parents are buried. In fact, because we grew up in this small town, we recognized many of the family names on the headstones. That day we were on a mission. That was the day we were going to choose our final resting spot. It’s never too early to prepare for this eventuality. Death can sneak up like a thief in the night. Please read more…
This past Sunday was the third Sunday in Advent and John’s Gospel message was about John the Baptist. John’s message to the people was to “prepare the way for the Lord and make straight their paths.” This is a timeless message. We all need to be ready for the day we will meet our Lord face to face. Speaking of preparing, Jesus is even doing some preparing on our behalf. Look what Jesus told us in John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”
People who are ill and battling a serious disease tend to think about and prepare for death. People who are younger and healthier seem to naturally postpone their preparedness. I can personally attest that my wife and I talk much more about death since I was diagnosed with MS than we did before.
I guess you could say that I have spent the majority of my life discussing preparedness for dying with others. I have spent nearly 40 years in the life insurance business. Professionally speaking, I can tell you that most people prefer to avoid discussing and/or planning for the inevitability of death. Planning for my own death takes on a completely different dimension than helping others plan for theirs.
It is important to do all of the tangible planning surrounding death like: deciding if you prefer to be buried or cremated, deciding where to be buried, deciding how much life insurance is adequate to protect the loved ones who you will leave behind, preplanning your funeral, and leaving some final written thoughts for your family. But, as important as these things are, being Spiritually Prepared is far more important.
If being prepared both physically and spiritually is so important, why is it so often neglected or delayed until it is too late?
The Bible tells us if we knew when the thief was going to break in, we would all be ready for him. This verse in Matthew 24:43 is specifically referring to the final days and the second coming of Jesus. Even so, the message is sound advice to all of us as it pertains to preparing for our own death.
The day and the hour of our death are unknown to us, but it is not unknown to God. Every day we live, death gets closer. It is easy to lull ourselves into assuming that we will statistically last into our mid-eighties or nineties. But we must acknowledge that even our very next breath is not assured.
How prepared are you right this minute? Do you have your final plans in order? Where are you spiritually right this moment? Are there some issues that you need to get right with God? Advent is a great time to prepare. The reality is the homeowner doesn’t know when the thief will attempt to break in so he must always be prepared. Likewise, we don’t know when death will show up so we must too be prepared.
Two weeks ago I suggested praying during Advent for virtues so that we could plan to live a more Christ-like life. Today I am suggesting that this is also a good time to evaluate where we stand with God. On that first Christmas, Jesus was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and by His life, death and resurrection He made possible our eternal salvation. As we approach this Christmas, let’s ask ourselves if we are properly heeding the words and teachings of our Savior.
This past Wednesday a dear friend of mine named Ken, passed away at age 84. Ken was a devout disciple of Jesus and gave much of his life to others through Cursillo and the Kairos prison ministry. My wife and I visited with Ken and his family in the days and hours leading up to his death, both at the hospital and at Hospice. Ken expressed his readiness to be with his Heavenly Father. Ken was prepared. Are we ready? If changes are needed, don’t delay, put your plans in place today!
Heavenly Father, your Son Jesus conquered death so that we could spend eternity in Heaven with you. Strengthen and inspire my resolve to get my personal and spiritual affairs in order so that I might be prepared when you call me home, amen.
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