Summary: Christian perspectives on death and being ready for it
Intro – 6 small groups, 3 Sunday School classes, and a ladies’ Bible study – all of them groups who took on the challenge to invest in eternity since January 15th. On top of that, there are dozens of individuals who have been investing in eternal things over these past 7 weeks. I counted over 50 individuals who were a part of 48 hours of prayer that began Friday morning! 48 hours of prayer!
Church, that’s something to celebrate!
We could have put our treasure into things that won’t last. We could have invested in just what we can see and touch, in the here and now. Instead, people laid up treasure in Heaven, where it can’t rot or rust or be stolen, and now their hearts are turned that way more than before too. That’s more than just pretty good! That’s an example of God’s people kicking the bucket of mediocre living on down the street – while we still have the time to do it!
As a result, more Jews in Israel are going to hear about the Messiah! A boy with Down’s Syndrome is going to sleep better at night, and his family is going to remember a church that cared about them. People in lonely places have received notes of encouragement and hope. Families in Mexico are strengthened. The children’s wing here will be a good place for kids to learn about Jesus. Hungry people are going to be fed. One family was secretly encouraged and upheld in prayer. People with mental disabilities, and those who are their caregivers, received unexpected visits and reassurance that they matter. Many of the Laguru people of Tanzania will get to hear God’s word. Carpenter’s Place was loaded up with necessary items to give to people in need. Children at Oblong Christian Children’s Home will receive items they need there just for their day-to-day living. People are going to be engaged in prayer more intently. IDES will be able to place into someone’s hands the tools to work for their livelihood.
All of that because God’s people determined to invest in what matters! We can make a list like that, but we can’t begin to measure the real value of what all of that will accomplish! Who knows how many of the people touched by those actions will now be closer to Jesus because of it, or will pass it along and help others be closer to Jesus because of it?
This is our last week of talking about your bucket list – things to get done while there’s still time. All along there has been another way to say it – things to get done before you kick the bucket – before you DIE. Solomon, later in his life, wrote in the book of Ecc…
Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
That’s what’s behind door #1! That’s where you’re going. I’ve checked! If you’re going to get any work done here, if you’re going to make a plan and implement it, if you’re going to get smart or wise about this life, you better have a plan to get it done, because you’re on limited time. This shouldn’t surprise you, or anyone else for that matter. People have been dying since Genesis 3 and I can say with a certain degree of confidence that you and I will too, unless the Lord comes first. Still there are people all over the place who live out their days as though they aren’t numbered and who act shocked when faced with death.
So, how’s your bucket list? This is the 7th and final week we’re going to focus on this. We started out with the foundation for all this, that what we’re talking about here is Investing in what matters, and how that ought to be at the heading of everyone’s bucket list. We looked at the need to Figure out what’s true in life, in a world that’s largely not even sure that’s possible anymore. We considered how life isn’t just about staying comfortable, in fact, how we need to Get uncomfortable at some point to really live life as God wants us to. Our student ministry shared about having awkward conversations and challenged us to follow them in Saying what needs to be said. We looked at Abraham as the poster boy for walking where you can’t see. After that, we took an honest look at the importance of relationships and getting right with the people in our lives we might have a problem with.
Today, there’s this rather obvious item to put on your bucket list. That’s because just making a bucket list is part of doing this very thing: Prepare to Die. If I had more than 9 minutes at this point, I’d show a clip from “The Princess Bride” where Inigo Montoya is practicing what he will say to the 6-fingered man when he finds him: “Hallo. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Inigo Montoya didn’t invent this idea. He just put it into a phrase lots of people remember. Prepare to die. I don’t apologize for taking us into it this morning. Thank me later! If we’ll do it, we won’t just die better for it. We’ll live better for it!