When the end of life appears how will I respond?
A question that not too many may ask themselves since living is the current emphasis for all of us. Those who are terminal or facing certain end of life concerns certainly may consider this. However, when a terminal patient such as under hospice care considers the absolute conclusion of life theirs may have different outlook on death. A close friend from our charismatic group had a positive attitude while she was under hospice care and had no regrets or fear of meeting the Lord which was imminent. In fact, after she passed away I had a dream where she was with other people entering a building. As she saw me and some other people from the prayer group she waved with a smile and went into the structure. A sign of her acceptance of death. It could have been my own expectation of what peaceful death is all about.
But the reality of how any one of us will respond once our eyes close for the last time, as a human being, can become a welcoming encounter for some. And it may present a crescendo of holding on to a life that has reached its last sight of light for too many.
There are quite a few excerpts in scripture where the writer has shown the promise that Jesus extended to us or the author of that particular work reiterating the words of divine truth that does exist for all believers. What most people who trust in the teaching of Jesus expect is a guarantee that certain benefits are real according to His words. Look at the chapter from Matthew about the sheep and the goats. The last sentence puts all this into perspective; “He will answer them, Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Mt 25: 45 - 46). See the entire message verses 31 - 46).
For some this direct accusation of those who ignore the poor by neglecting their needs shouldn’t affect everyone. However, the first sermon Jesus spoke of was in the synagogue at Nazareth when he read from Isaiah regarding the poor . (Lk 4: 16 - 19). This theme is heavy throughout Luke’s Gospel. It follows on the premise throughout the bible when God demanded to let fruit that fell from trees alone so the poor could pick it up for food.
How will I respond as I lay on my death-bed? The hope is that I sought to assist those who were in dire straits and shared something of my own wealth to say I care. Any time a wealthy person dies without giving to those who are destitute the very question they may have could be too late once their eyes close. Think of the parable of the two men who died and Lazurus went to the bosom of Abraham while the rich man went to hell. A perfect scenario of being too late for the rich man. (Lk 16: 19 - 31).
What about those who reach their final days and cannot remember whom they neglected? That is where we must accumulate God’s graces while we are still cognitive and walking with Christ in faith. Being in an absolute personal relationship with Christ is an ongoing gesture of a spirit led life, not on the last day. Although recognizing God and repenting even on our final day is enough to find his mercy and saving our soul from eternal damnation.
Ralph B. Hathaway