A Man and His Death
“An infant is born with a clenched fist, but an old man dies with an open hand. Life has a way of prying loose our grasp on all that seems so important.”
HOW DOES A GOOD MAN DIE?
We are given numerous examples in the Scriptures which serve as inspiration to those who call themselves Christians. My favorite is the account of King David’s final hours, when he asked that his beloved son Solomon be brought to his chambers. There, in the presence of witnesses, a father offered his concluding words of advice to the young man he had designated to succeed him. We can be certain that the statements made on that occasion carried great significance, for David was obviously conveying eternal truths to his son. A man is seldom casual or frivolous when staring death in the face. Thus, these words represent a summation of all that David believed and loved:
“And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever.” (I Chronicles 28:9, KJV, emphasis added.)
Every son should be so fortunate as to receive such profound advice from his father. Those sixty words contain all that a young man or woman should know to live a successful and meaningful life. Notice the precision of David’s words. He did not instruct Solomon to get to know about God. He told him to become acquainted directly with God. The distinction is vital (I may know about George Washington and Albert Einstein but I have never met them face to face). I am also impressed by David’s reference to God’s judgment for those who disobey His commandments: “But if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever.” That warning has eternal implications for you and me, as well.
Dr. Dobson’s father began the last chapter of his life at Easter time, 1977, when he and his wife, Myrtle went to visit their son and wife, Shirley in California. Taking time off work, Dr. Dobson and family spent that time in pleasant conversation with their loved ones. At one point, Dr. Dobson asked his father, “What do you want for an epitaph at the close of your life?” He thought briefly and then replied, “Only two words: ‘He prayed.’” He lived a life of devotion to God and the daily communion he maintained with God had a lasting impact on his family.
It was the last trip that Dr. Dobson’s parents would make to their home. The clock was ticking down toward zero, with only eight months remaining. He fell asleep in the Lord the following December.
James Dobson, Sr. 1911 – 1977
Straight Talk to MEN and Their Wives
by Dr. James C. Dobson. P.211,212
We’ve seen how King David approached the benediction of his life on earth. My question to you is: “How are you going to live the last chapter of your life on Earth?” Like Paul, may it be said of each of us, “I have finished the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me, the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day –and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” (II Timothy 4:7, NIV)
How you spend your Dash is how you will be remembered.
I read of a man who stood to speak, At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone, From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came her date of her birth, And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all, Was the dash between those years
For that dash represents all the time, That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her, Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own; The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love, And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard. Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left, That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough, To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand, The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger, And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives, Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect, And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash, Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read, With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say, About how you spent your dash?
by Linda Ellis