My father is on his deathbed. He had a stroke that reduced him to hospice care and a hospital bed. He sleeps most of the time, but when he is awake, he is still able to clearly communicate. What do we talk about? The affairs of this life no longer matter. What troubles the world is not his concern. I brought up to him the other day how God had seen him through so many things. When I was just about to turn 16 we had over 100 cattle stolen. It was the first time in my life I had ever seen my dad cry. Later a certain individual swindled dad out of a large amount of money but dad said he didn't even really remember it anymore. What matters NOW? On his deathbed, on the edge of eternity, what matters now is the nearness of loved ones. LOVE is such a powerful thing and I am thinking specifically about the LOVE of God expressed through people.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV)
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
My dad was always kind of a quiet man but when he spoke he pretty much told it like it was. But in his weakened state he is very gracious and easy to work with. He is humbled and at peace with his situation. Dad can feel the love of his loved ones around him and even though he is dying it is amazing how content and happy he seems to be. Love has a way of causing people to beam - even on their deathbed. It touches us on a deep level that is almost indescribable. There is a reason the Scripture says, "the greatest of these is love".
And what matters NOW is truth - God's TRUTH! Dad does care what the news says. He doesn't care about the spin. He told me there is NOTHING on TV and he has no interest in it. Now God's enduring PRECIOUS PROMISES are what matters. The future is all about God's eternal promises and the TRUTH that is found in Jesus. Peter spoke of God's "exceedingly great and precious promises" (2 Pet. 1:4). On the edge of eternity there is nothing more precious!
Samuel Johnson said, "When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” In the face of death we see clearly that what matters before God is what really matters. Nothing else matters! And when you reduce it down what ultimately matters is the LOVE of God and the TRUTH of God! To die in the LOVE of God and aligned with the TRUTH of God is to have death swallowed up in glory. The Christian HOPE is indescribably wonderful! We owe it all to Jesus and with every breath we seek to thank and praise Him! We can't thank Him enough - but as believers we have all eternity to try!
1 Peter 4:7–11 (NKJV)
7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.