I just returned from Indiana where I conducted the funeral of my brother-in-law, Jim Renn – a genuinely good guy whose last few years were troubled by Parkinson’s and a stroke. Perhaps another stroke or a heart attack - at any rate something sudden and catastrophic accounted for his death at age 69. Jim made pretty good use of those years. And I am a firm believer in eternity and the world to come, so I plan to see him again. But every death should be a caution to all of us. I knew four of my great grandparents and one great great grandmother. They are all gone. All four of my grandparents are gone. My father is gone. My mother suffers severe dementia and no longer really knows me. And now the first of the sibling set (10 of us – five birth siblings and five in laws) is gone. Jim was five years older than I and, as women generally live five or so years longer than men and my only older sibling is a sister a single year my senior, odds are – I’m next up after mom. And, of course, I have no guarantee of the twenty or so years I ought to have remaining. Jim didn’t get them. All man is appointed once to die. Again, I believe in the world to come so I’m not trying to build up a sense of desperation about THE END. But I am saying that the good we can do in this world has an expiration date – and it’s coming. Do the things that are important. Anyone who isn’t planning on death is a poor planner. And there is another aspect. The life we live here has an impact on our entry into the next world. I believe this to be true even beyond the initial question of salvation – and remember, salvation is to be saved OUT OF this world – which is doomed. But even the saved need to give some thought to this life as preparation for the next. I have greeted every death for the last three decades with one of the requests from the prayer of Moses So teach us to number our days that we may present unto Thee a heart of wisdom.
Pastor and Author Terry Bailey, Senior Minister of Indian Run Christian Church