Yesterday, I had the privilege of preaching a funeral for the grandmother of a former elder of the church, a man I count as a Barnabas to me, and a dear, dear family.
This morning, I’m reflecting on the fact that I’m going to die soon. I don’t know how soon. I don’t know whether I’ll live to be 90 or just have 90 more minutes. But, I’m going to die soon. Even if I live to be 90, I’ll look back at my life and it would have been a vapor. I’m going to die soon. And you are too.
I asked the people yesterday how they would be remembered at their funeral. It’s a good question for the preacher, too, not just the pew. I’m going to die soon, and I wonder how I will be remembered.
Will I, like Abraham, be remembered as a “man of faith” (Gal. 3:9)?
Will I, like Abraham, be remembered as a friend of God (James 2:23)? Will people say I plead with God as a man pleads with a friend (Job 16:20-21)?
Will anyone think that I, like David, was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)?
What will be said about my service in the church? Will I, like Moses, be faithful in all the house of God (Num. 12:7; Heb. 3:2)?
Will those who knew me say I loved my wife as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25)?
Will anyone testify that the Lord hid nothing from me because I was trusted by God to teach my entire household His wonderful deeds, “to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just” (Gen. 18:17-19)?
I am going to die soon, and these questions receive far too little of my time. Moreover, these questions seem occupied with what other men think. I suppose that’s okay on one level, given how the questions are asked. But what will God say when I die?
Will it be written of me: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saint,” Thabiti (Ps. 116:15)?
I suppose some men will spend their lives in the ministry, and at the end cry out with Balaam: “Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my end be like theirs!” (Num. 23:10). Yet, like Balaam, they may never see such a death and their end may never be like “the dust of Jacob.”
I’d rather hear the Lord say, Thabiti “was as zealous as I am for my honor” (Num. 25:10, 13). Oh to be like Phinehas son of Eleazar! To live only for God’s honor!
For the saint, death is but a carriage to eternal life and the glories of Christ on high. All the commendations that attend our processional will have been earned by Christ our Savior. All the fruit of our lives leading to honor among men will have been produced by God’s Spirit. To God be the glory, great things He has done.
But we would be better prepared for that day if we live now with the certain knowledge that we are going to die soon.