A LIFE WELL LIVED
A LIFE WELL LIVED
(1) “Everybody has to die sometime, even if you don’t want to.” (2) “When you die, God takes care of you like your mother did when you were alive, only God doesn’t yell at you all the time.” (3) “You have to be old before you can die, because God seems to love old people best.” Isn’t that neat? Or here’s a good one: (4) “God doesn’t tell you when you’re going to die, because He wants it to be a big surprise.” Here’s another one; I especially took note of this one: (5) “Only the good people go to heaven; the other people go to where it’s hot all the time, like Florida.” And then a little child said, (6) “Everyone is scared to die, except the people who are already dead.” Or here’s one: (7) “A good doctor can help you so that you won’t die. A bad doctor sends you to heaven.” (8) “When you die, you don’t have to do homework in heaven, unless your teacher is there too.” Most of them won’t be there, I thought, when I was a little boy. Here’s one we all ought to pay attention to: (9) “Grown-ups who smoke die before grown-ups who don’t smoke. Grown-ups who smoke must be in a hurry to die.” Amen? All right, here’s another one, everybody, and this is the last one I want to share. There were many more. I selected these, but I just wanted this one to be last, because I think it is so great: (10) “Everyone cries when somebody dies, because they don’t want to be left behind.” Isn’t that beautiful?
I. Jacob had a Forgiving Lord with Him
One night I spent almost all night in a hospital with a dying man, sat by his side, and the doctor said, “He’s going to die at any moment.” I watched his chest as it heaved and went in. Finally, he opened his eyes and looked at me and recognized one more time that it was his pastor. And through those languid eyes he gazed at me for a moment, and I saw a smile play around the corners of his lips, and this is what he said to me before he stepped out to meet God. He said, “Pastor, my sins are all under the blood.” Amen? That’s the way to die: with your sins all under the blood.
JACOB HAD A FRUITFUL LIFE BEHIND HIM
Charles “Tremendous” Jones said that near his house, there was a tremendous flood, and it flooded his basement. And down in his basement he had his study. And he had all of his notes, and he had all of his books, had all of his letters, and he had all of his little goodies, you know, his letters from the President, and his citations, and all of those little rewards and everything, had them all filed away down there, and all of those things he worked so hard for. And it rained and just flooded that place and then filled it up with mud. And he went in there: everything was ruined. There was two or three feet of mud in the basement. It was all gone. He said “Oh, my gosh! Look at this! All my life’s work, it’s gone!” And he carried it to the Lord. And this is what Charles Jones said the Lord said to him: “Don’t worry about it, Charlie. I was going to burn it all up anyway.” I think that’s tremendous. “Now, don’t worry about it. I was going to burn it all up anyway.”
Oh,” you say, “well, you don’t have to do good works to get to heaven. I’ll just go to heaven by the grace of God.” Do you know what Billy Sunday called that? “Burning the candle of life for the devil and blowing the smoke in God’s face.”
And I didn’t know whether Dr. Lee was going to heaven right then, but I thought certainly it was about that time, because the sense of God’s Spirit was so real. But then suddenly Dr. Lee opened his eyes, those piercing blue eyes—and he had lost his eyesight, most of it, but his eyes were so beautifully clear—and he came out of that coma. And Hildred leaned over to him and said, “Papa, Billy Graham’s here, and he came to see you.” And Dr. Lee reached that old hand up that held that Bible so many times, and that hand that had comforted so many people, and put it around Billy Graham’s neck, and pulled him down, and kissed him, and embraced him. Then he lapsed back into that coma. He didn’t die right then.
Later on, he said to Hildred, “Hildred, I see heaven.” She said, “Tell me about it, Papa.” He said, “It’s beautiful.” He said, “I never did it justice.” You know his great sermon, “The Place Called Heaven”? He said, “I never did it justice.” And then he said, “And, Hildred, I see my mother. And she’s beautiful—she’s beautiful.”
Jacob was gathered to his people—gathered to his people—a family reunion in heaven, faithful loved ones awaiting him.
No wonder the Bible says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalms 116:15) By and by, when the morning comes, we’ll be gathered home.