Obit

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I woke up this morning wondering what it would be like to have died. Well, yea it’s kind of a morbid thing to think about and really probably not an exceptionally profitable thing to think on first thing in the morning but, well, welcome to my world. 

I woke up this morning wondering what it would be like to have died. Well, yea it’s kind of a morbid thing to think about and really probably not an exceptionally profitable thing to think on first thing in the morning but, well, welcome to my world. 

I believe it was Mark Twain who once wrote a rebuttal to his own obituary that had been misprinted in a local Nevada newspaper that stated the fledgling newspaper columnist had passed away during the night. In his defense he wrote a rebuttal that went something like this “the news of my death has been greatly exaggerated”.

But this morning it’s now my turn. Now I didn’t actually read my obituary in print but maybe it was a thought or fragment from a dream that caused me to ponder over my own death.  What would my obituary look like and what would be the accomplishments listed, if any, that some sleepy morning newspaper reader might glance at while sipping coffee and biting into a piece of burnt toast?

The first thing I thought of was of the way I had acted the night before to my wife and daughter. No, I am not going to spill the beans and elaborate, try and persuade you to my side but it was just the idea that I would be gone as well as my opportunity to say, “I was sorry for the way I acted.”

We spend too much time being upset, angry and annoyed with very trivial things during our course on any given day. OK, so you are thinking that you and your family don’t fight, argue or ever have any disagreements, well to you may I suggest a book “How to stop lying” should be next on your reading list.

As the minutes wore on, still clad in my nightclothes, I began to imagine what my own obituary might say as bits and pieces of word fragments and word pictures fell into place. 

“He died in his sleep with one foot on the floor and the other in his mouth” or maybe “He was a selfish man, a hypocrite really and nobody actually liked him” How about this “We would like to tell you something about his life but there really wasn’t anything noteworthy or interesting about him”.

As beads of perspiration began to form on my forehead I continued to evaluate my own life; had my life changed someone’s else’s life or if I had made the world a better place to live. I wanted desperately to find solace somewhere in something and so determined to do just that I lay in bed until noon trying to come up with something. The following is what I came up with.

“On August 7th 2017 pastor so-and-so died in his sleep at the age of 117. Even though he was born in the year 1900 and was 117 years old he looked as if he was in his late 50’s. Pastor so-and-so holds several doctorate degrees in theology and applied religious studies. He reads Greek, Hebrew and has written volumes of works on contemporary systematic theology. He has appeared on several religious television networks and movies and once while lecturing in New York he delivered triplets in Central Park during a winter snowstorm.  He gives away his entire book proceeds to varies charities and has taken a vow of poverty. His 16 grandchildren 64 great grandchildren and 256 great, great grandchildren survive him. He died penniless.”

Have you ever thought about what the paper will say about you when it’s your turn to depart the earth? Who will come to pay respects at your memorial and what things are you remembered for? 

Will it be things like this “John was a great golfer and spent the majority of his life in the clubhouse” or maybe this “Paul loved his job and on his deathbed wished he had worked more overtime” or how about this “Jane loved to be entertained and enjoyed going to the movies she will be sorely missed by the staff at the Alpha and Omega Theatres”

It so important to use our time wisely, to pour our lives into people and things that will have eternal impact. Our family, friends and neighbors are the people that count. Spending time, finances and our gifts and abilities on them will leave a legacy that will carry on into eternity. The relationships we forge on the earth will be the only things allowed to go with us into heaven. 

In the words of the famous bible teacher Chuck Smith “We have only one life that soon will pass, only what is done for Christ will last.” So what will your obituary say and what will you be remembered for? 

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