Summary: This is evangelistic message using Willliam Shakespeare’s last will and testament as a spring board to share the good news.
The last written Words of William Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare lived from 1546 -1616, his plays have been studied for centuries, he has an unrivalled position in the literary world, lots of people admire his wisdom and insight into human nature. Many phrases that we regularly use today come from the works of this outstanding man. This man has impacted our world, in fact it’s not surprising he was voted the Man of the millennium at the turn of the century .
Test on the works of William Shakespeare: Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow. Romeo and Juliet – To be, or not to be: that is the question. Hamlet: Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em Twelfth Night: If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? Merchant of Venice.
I must confess I know very little of the works of William Shakespeare but I do know that he said this “To thy own self be true.” Today I want you to be true to yourself. In the light of what you will hear, ask yourself can I say with confidence the same as William Shakespeare did...
We might not be literary geniuses but we all have something in common with William Shakespeare, something like William we will all have to do at some point in our lives and it’s something we often put off to a later date. Because it involves the business of death and death is a taboo subject to our minds.
• Somebody once said there are two things that can be certain in this life death and taxes.
But seriously death is no respecter of persons and it can come at any time, at any age for William Shakespeare it came at the age of 52. Death is our common bond as human beings no matter whether rich or poor – famous or not we all share the common experience of death as a result of death there is a need to get our estates in order before we die and so more than likely will write a will. On 25th March 1616, just weeks before his death on 25th April 1616, Shakespeare made his last Will and Testament.
A short extract from the last Will and Testament of William Shakespeare, is going to be our spring board for the message, the will is easy accessible as it is kept in the public records office in London and found on the internet .
It’s amazing what you can write into your will, did you know that William Shakespeare out of his vast estate, the only thing he gave his wife Ann Hathaway was his 2nd best bed! (People leave the strangest things) But it’s not the comical side of Will writing I want to look at today but the very serious side.
Lets read the extract together: “In the name of God, Amen, I William Shakespeare.... in perfect health and memory, God be praised, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in the manner and form following. That is to say, first I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting...”
This will indeed show William Shakespeare to be a wise man not only in the realm of literature but also in his relationship with God. Of course this is only written words and we cannot see into his heart, of W.S only God can do that, but from what he has written we can learn three vital lessons: Apply to our own lives.
1. He acknowledged God “In the name of God”
You might say, “No kidding inspector Morse” but this is a major statement today the acknowledgment that there is a God in our secularised world, seems too many infantile and belongs in the realm of fairy stories. We live in a nation since the enlightenment period where everything has been rationalised away.
• One time press secretary ALISTAR CAMPBELL announced on behalf of Tony Blair ‘We don’t do God.”
• Richard Dawkins who propagate a rationale that says God just does not exist with books like ‘The God delusion’. Which has been on the best sellers list for months what does that say about the mindset of our nation.
By faith: This simple statement In the beginning God created is one of the most profoundest statements confronting the modern mind - it is a statement that we take on board by faith – Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command.