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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“Then he charged them and said to them: ‘I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah. The field and the cave that is there were purchased from the sons of Heth.’ And when Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.”—Genesis 49:29-33 (NKJV)
Here marks the end of the life of the last patriarch. The work and plan of God didn’t end, it continued throughout history and will continue for generations to come.
King Solomon, a descendant of Jacob, wrote in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 that there are divine appointments in life. Birth and death are two set appointments, with death being appointed sooner or later. Knowing this, we need to consciously and intentionally make it our goal to prepare for our eternal home. Hebrews 13:14 (NKJV) says, “Here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”
The martyred German pastor, Deitrich Bonhoeffer, died by the hands of the Nazi’s two weeks prior to the end of WWII. He wrote a series of sermons called, “Stations on the Road to Freedom.” The last station is death. Bonhoeffer writes, “Whether we are young or old makes no difference. What are 20 or 30 or 50 years in the sight of God? And which of us know how near he or she may already be to the goal?”
Recently, the wife of one of our pastors passed into glory. Connie battled cancer for almost seven years and fought it like a champ. Knowing God helped her through all the prayers, treatments, and surgeries, she accepted everything humanly possible had been done. Her faith was in her God. Many prayed for healing, yet the ultimate healing would be heaven.
In her final good-bye, sitting confidently, Connie held her Bible, said her thank you’s with love, and then with her beautiful smile said, “I’m ready to meet my King Jesus!”
Connie and her husband are patriarchs to the Church. They made a powerful influence in many lives, and their impact has been felt for nearly 30 years. They served well.
Bonhoeffer went on to say, “That life only really begins when it ends here on earth, that all that is here is only the prologue before the curtain goes up—that is for young and old alike to think about. Death is not bitter, if we have not become bitter ourselves. Death is grace, the greatest gift of grace that God gives to people who believe in Him. Death is mild, death is sweet and gentle; it beckons to us with heavenly power, if only we realize that it is the gateway to our homeland, the tabernacle of joy, the everlasting kingdom of peace.”
When Bonhoeffer was led to the gallows in his last minutes alive he was overheard saying, “This is the end, but the beginning of life for me.” He knew confidently what would be moments away. He would see the King of Glory and be ushered into his heavenly home.
DIG: How do you personally handle the subject of death? How do you try to prepare? You still have so much to give in your remaining time on earth.
DISCOVER: In John 11:25-26 (NKJV), Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” Do you believe this?
DISPLAY: Read Colossians 3:1-4. Live life to the fullest, making heaven your goal.