Summary: Can you say that you are truly ready to go when God calls you?
I can’t count the number of times that _____ told me, “Whenever it’s my time to go, I want you to know that I am ready.” And his lifestyle exhibited just that. _____ was devoted to his Lord and he knew that Jesus was preparing a mansion just for him. So he kept continually focused on worshiping and serving and loving his Lord.
I got to thinking about that statement. “I am ready to go.” And I wonder how many of us can truthfully say that. I wonder how many of us are absolutely sure than when we leave this earth that we will see Jesus face to face. And I asked, “When is a person ready to die?” Let’s take a quick look at that question this morning and see how that compares to Frank’s readiness to meet his Maker.
I use a passage of Scripture from the Apostle Paul’s letter to a young pastor named Timothy. Paul says, “ For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Throughout life we’re always preparing for something or someone. We prepare for school, for marriage, for our careers, for a family, and for retirement. We spend a lot of time preparing to live. It’s as though we think we are going to live forever.
Don’t get me wrong, we should prepare to live. God wants us to enjoy life and to be prepared for it. But death is a fact of life. The Bible assures us that it is appointed unto men once to die.” In saying that, shouldn’t we not only prepare to live but also prepare to die. But how do we prepare for death? When is a person ready to die?
Paul uses the word “departure” when speaking of death. That’s actually a naval term that means to weight anchor and set sail. Many of us have stood on the seashore and watched a ship pull out of harbor and leave. Just a few weeks ago I was in Corpus Christi and watched as those huge ships would leave and head out over the waters. We watch it until it is just a speck on the horizon and then, and some say, “It’s gone.” But gone where? Not out of existence. Only out of sight.
And that’s a pretty good picture of the death of a Christian. Death is a passing—not out of existence, only out of sight. Beyond what we can see today, Frank is experiencing a world that is simply not visible to us.
That’s what the Apostle Paul was talking about in this passage. He stood on the edge of life and shook hands with death without the slightest fear or dread and said, “I am ready.” Those that were there with _____ last week; wasn’t that his exact attitude? He was ready. He said so himself. And there’s something to being ready to die. It doesn’t just happen. There are some things that allow a person to be ready to die. And these, too, are the things that describe _____ to a tee. See if you don’t agree.
First, a firm commitment in Jesus Christ will help us to be ready to die. The Apostle Paul was ready to die because he had put his faith and confidence in the one who was able to keep him. No person is really ready to die until he had made that same kind of commitment. It’s only by committing your life to Christ that you can say, “I am ready.”
Everyone here knows that _____ was secure in his commitment to Christ. Let me give you an analogy. Deep in the jungles of Central America you will often find dug-out canoes lying along riverbanks. These vessels were made by hollowing out a tree to form a canoe. They are left on the banks to be used to cross the rivers.
They’re small, crude, and shaky, but sufficient for crossing the river. But as adequate as they are for crossing the river, they would never do for crossing the ocean. To make a journey like that would require a ship much larger and much stronger.
As you make your journey in life, you may be able to make it through many of life’s experiences in your own strength. But when it comes to crossing the vast expanse of death into eternity, only Jesus Christ is significant for us. To entrust ourselves to anything or anyone less than Jesus is to choose that which is not sufficient for our needs. We can stand on the banks of the river and peer out into eternity without any fear if we have made a commitment of ourselves to Jesus Christ.