Forgive me if this seems maudlin. Nobody enjoys thinking about his death, let alone documenting every wish.

Just the same, moments ago I finished doing that very thing in a letter to my wife. I plan on giving it to her on Monday morning just before they wheel me away for “Operation Robojaw.”

Let’s face it. Nobody’s next second, let alone day is guaranteed. Pushing 64 years of age with an eight hour procedure ahead of me means I’d better go here.

My main motivation? Loving my bride well. Perish the thought, but she will have her hands full with grief. Why further jeopardize her shalom by failing to take responsibility for this myself?

Here are five things you can do in advance of your earthly demise to guard the shalom of the household you leave behind:

  • Prepare a living will. What in the world are you waiting for? This one is a no brainer.
  • Specify what you want done with your remains: burial, cremation, cryogenic freezing. Whatever. For a decent treatment of the burial vs. cremation question check out Cremation Confusion.
  • Write your spouse a letter to be opened only on the occasion of your passing. Warning. Should you do this and I hope you will sooner rather than later, keep the tissues nearby. Tears will come.
  • Tell your beloved the best of your heart’s affection. Then get after the business of detailing what you want done with your most important stuff. My list turned out pretty short. You know what they say: you can’t take it with you.
  • Write out a draft order of worship for your memorial service. My document runs from prelude to postlude. It contains the songs I want sung, the people I want to speak, the music I want played and the players to play it. I am a demanding so-and-so. I have even given Nancy instructions for a memorial fund in lieu of flowers.
  • Get the thing witnessed and notarized. Don’t leave any doubt as to the legitimacy of the document.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a death wish. But I do resonate with Paul when he writes, “I am hard pressed between the two–depart to be with Christ or remain in the flesh (Phil. 1:21-24). I get it. When it’s my time–precious in God’s sight as it is (Psalm 116:15)–I’m the only one to gain.

I fully expect to survive. Lord willing, “Operation Robojaw” will be a smashing success. If not, I’ve got peace that I’ve done my part to help guard the peace of the one for whom I care the most.

Will you?

Question: What have I missed? Can you think of any other helpful items to add to my list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Preparing Your Heart for Tomorrow

There are two things at least that you can do today to prep your heart for the Lord’s Day at OGC.

First, you can read through 1 John 2 before bed to familiarize yourself with the text that Kevin Wilhoit will be teaching in the 9:30 hour in the fellowship hall. If you’ve been attending the Peacemaker class (now concluded) why not join those of us who are working through 1 John in a survey fashion with our summer pastoral intern? There are some terribly intriguing passages in 1 John that we will tackle tomorrow. Of course, if you have been participating in Delroy Thompson’s study of the Thessalonian epistles you will want to read whatever section of the book he has you working through tomorrow.

Second, you can read through John 9:1-41 in preparation for returning to our study of the Gospel of John. We’ve been away from this book of the Bible for two months now. I will actually preach from vv. 13ff so if you missed the messages about the sixth sign, the healing of the man born blind, you could also listen to them here as part of your preparation as well. I will seek to show from the example of this man’s faith how to be certain that your own faith is certifiably genuine. This will be a two part message spanning tomorrow and July 11 as well.

Here is a quote from J. C. Ryle’s book Holiness which stresses the importance of assurance of salvation (I have it included in the introduction to tomorrow’s message):

I lay it down fully and broadly, as God’s truth, that a true Christian, a converted man, may reach such a comfortable degree of faith in Christ, that in general he shall feel entirely confident as to the pardon and safety of his soul, shall seldom be troubled with doubts, seldom be distracted with fears, seldom be distressed by anxious questionings and, in short, though vexed by many an inward conflict with sin, shall look forward to death without trembling, and to judgment without dismay.  This, I say, is the doctrine of the Bible.

Whatever you sow this evening in the way of preparing for tomorrow’s services will cause you to reap all the more in the way of spiritual blessing and encouragement!