Summary: How do we live life so that the preacher doesn’t have to lie at our funeral? How do we live life so that we have very few regrets? How do we live life so that the brief days that we have in this life are lived to the fullest?
LIVE WITH THE END IN MIND
According to Forbes Magazine and other clothing aficionados, 2013 marks the 100th birthday of the t-shirt. I thought t-shirts had always been around since cave man days, but apparently that isn’t so. The t-shirt was born in 1913 when the US Navy issued crewnecks for soldiers to wear under their uniforms. In 1920, the word “t-shirt” was officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary and it was used in college athletics by 1932. Every one of us has our favorite t-shirt. T-shirts come in all sizes, colors, and tons of designs.
* T-shirts can advertize your favorite company or food.
* T-shirts can be a reflection of your favorite TV show or movie.
* T-shirts can be printed with funny sayings, offensive ones, or even political sayings.
* T-shirts can also be printed with thoughtful messages. This is my favorite t-shirt and was given to me as a gift after I commented on it once at a convention I was at. I have never worn it. It hangs up in my office because it has the absolute coolest statement on it that I have ever heard. This shirt says, “Live your life so the preacher won’t have to lie at your funeral.” I can’t help it. I love that.
Today we are going to be finishing up our series on “You’re Dead… Now what?” and we are going to talk about living the way this t-shirt says. We are going to talk all about living with the end in mind. At the end of every life is death. I know death is not something we talk much about because it is uncomfortable and it brings up memories and thoughts that are often sad and painful. We don’t even like the word “death.” When someone dies we say “they’ve passed on” or “they’ve gone ahead” or “we lost them.” Yet the Bible does talk about death and frames our lives as short brief periods of time. In Psalm 102:11, the Bible describes our lives, “My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass” and James 4:14 says, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Whether you think of your life as withering grass or a momentary mist, it is true that our lives on this Earth are temporary and are not forever.
How do we live life so that the preacher doesn’t have to lie at our funeral?
How do we live life so that we have very few regrets?
How do we live life so that the brief days that we have in this life are lived to the fullest?
In 2 Timothy 4:6-8, the Apostle Paul can sense that his time on earth is coming to an end and he knows that it will come sooner rather than later. He uses several phrases as he talks about facing death that can help us
face death well and help us live our lives with the end in mind.
READ 2 TIMOTHY 4:6-8
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.”
I. POURED OUT LIKE A DRINK OFFERING (2 TIM 4:6)
The Apostle Paul is talking about the pouring out of his life and Paul had in mind the sacrifice and service that were his way of life. I cannot help but think of Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 when I see his words in 2 Timothy 4:6, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” Both passages ring with the truth that Paul lived his life with the end in mind by pouring out his life for others and sharing his life with everyone he came across. Paul served with and for others. Paul sacrificed for those around him. This was his way of life.
ILLUSTRATION… To Obey is Love, Seth Dillon, illustrationexchange.com
The Princess Bride, a popular romantic comedy, begins at the home of Buttercup (Robin Wright).
Though dressed in drab brown clothes and clearly a peasant girl, Buttercup orders others around as though she were royalty. Another peasant named Wesley (Cary Elwes) is a laborer on Buttercup's farm, and the narrator says that Buttercup's greatest pleasure in life is tormenting Wesley. She refers to him as "farm boy" and makes liberal use of her authority as she orders him about. Yet no matter how menial the task, Wesley always responds the same way: "As you wish." Though Buttercup is incredibly condescending, Wesley is the model servant. He never refuses her demands, and his attitude is kind and willing. The narrator reveals that one day Buttercup has a precious insight. He reads, "That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying 'As you wish,' what he really meant was, 'I love you.'"