I recently went to a funeral. For days after the funeral I thought
about death. I thought about the fact that one day my body will
be lying in a casket as people come by and see it one last time.
I also tried to imagine the funeral service as well as the grave
I thought about Paul saying: "And as it is appointed for men to
die once, but after this the judgement" (Heb. 9:27). And, "For we
must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one
may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has
done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the
Lord, we persuade men; . . ." (2 Cor. 5:10-11).
One morning, as I was lying in bed trying to wake up, I thought
about death. What is it like to die; to close my eyes to wake again
in spiritual life having left my mortal body? Then, I wondered what
I would do if I knew that I had just one week to live.
What would you do if you had just one week to live?
In a practical sense, you may check your life insurance policy
or fix up the house one last time. You may communicate your finances
to your spouse or children; and you may make your burial arrangements.
You may fill your week hugging and kissing those you love; and you
may call friends to say goodbye. Maybe there are apologies you have
not made; and maybe there are sins of which you have not repented,
confessed, and asked forgiveness.
Perhaps you have wanted to encourage a brother or sister that is
weak, but you have not found the time. Maybe you have someone in
mind with whom to share the gospel, but you have been too busy.
And maybe you have put off training your children or encouraging
your spouse in the Lord - just not enough time.
Would your priorities change if you knew that death was in seven
days? Even if you had to work or go to school during the week, would
your priorities change? Would assembling with the saints be a priority?
Would you go to church on Sunday and to Bible studies? Or, would
you wait and let a loved one call the church after your death?
What about your mental state of mind? If you knew you were going
to die in seven days, would you be happy or sad; rejoice or shed
tears of sorrow; be confident or apprehensive? Has love towards
God removed fear (1 Jn. 4:18) because you have obeyed His commands
(1 Jn. 5:3)?
Think about this: A person is ready to die when he knows he has
one week to live and yet changes nothing. He will pray the same
as in past weeks, study God's word the same as in past weeks, assemble
with the saints the same as in past weeks. Yes, he may be hard-hearted
and worthy of the wrath of God. But if he has a humble heart to
which God gives grace (Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5), he is ready to meet
the Lord in judgement.
Now think about this: The things I would do (in relationship to
God), knowing it was my last week to live, are the things I should
be doing this week - whether I live or die.
A humble person will be honest with himself and realize that he
needs to change - no one is perfect. But, if that thing which you
need to change will keep you from eternal life, you need to change
it today. The reality of this exercise is that I may die at any
moment and without notice. "For what is your life? It is a vapor
that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (Jas. 4:14).
Now ask yourself: Am I ready to die? If not, why not get ready
today - tomorrow may never come.