Friday, July 1, 2016

Are You Ready?

Over the last two months, I’ve been shocked to learn of many deaths. They were caused by murders, accidents, sudden sicknesses, long illnesses, and heart attacks. 

All were Christians. 

All were missionaries.

Are you ready?

Oh, I know. No one wants to even think of his own death. We all want to live long lives with many happy days ahead. (Me, too!)

But we don’t have that guarantee.

Are you ready?

There’s an old saying that a missionary needs to be ready to preach, pray or die at any time. I think we’re usually ready to preach (to women and children, mind you), and to pray, but I'm not sure we're ready to die. I almost envy the person who has time to prepare. (I’m talking about the person who has an incurable illness and knows he has a year at best, several months at the least.) He gets his house in order, writes some amazing letters, and he tries to make happy final memories each day.

We feel we’re immortal . . . 

and we’re not prepared.

Indeed, we are immortal until God says our work is done. But, we don’t usually get advance notice of when that time will be. When do we get to depart and to be with Christ?* We really don’t know. 

I come from a family of long-lived people. Some smoked, some had cancer, and some worked in coal mines. But, it’s amazing; most of them lived well into their eighties or nineties. Will I have that privilege? I have no idea.

And neither do you.

I’m not trying to be morbid, you understand. I want to be ready. I know you do, too. And, truthfully, I love the idea of going in the Rapture. Swoosh! With the Lord. Yes!!!

Even if you’re twenty-five or thirty, you want your life to make a difference. You wouldn’t be a missionary if you didn’t love souls and have a vision for the lost. You want to train women and children. You want to leave a legacy for the generations to come. 

Here are a few suggestions for getting ready for heaven, just in case you're taken by surprise: 
  1. Make sure you have a will. Yes, I know missionaries don’t own much, but we need to make it as easy as possible for those we leave behind. Keep your will up to date (add married kids’ names, acquired property, car, etc.). 
  2. Have a life insurance policy—to cover funeral expenses—and list your closest relative(s) as beneficiary.
  3. Ask the questions you want to ask and say the things you want to say. When you’re with your parents, find out about family history. Write it down for the next generation. Thank your teachers, your family members, your pastor, and anyone else who impacted your life. Tell the people you love that you love them. All the time. You never know when it will be the last.
  4. Write things down. I realize we don’t all enjoy writing and journaling isn’t everyone’s thing. But, I’m talking about meaningful notes on special occasions. Surely, you can write something lovely a few times a year. Keep a copy on your computer. If you’re an older missionary, consider writing a memoir. (It’s on my “to do” list.”) Tell how God answered prayers and blessed you. (Think of the impact Rosalind Goforth, Isobel Kuhn, and Amy Carmichael have had on us.)
  5. Simplify your stuff. I know that some of you are amazing organizers and that you weed out regularly. I applaud you! For the rest of us—yep, I’m in your group—we need to chuck, give away, and simplify. If anything were to happen to me now . . . pity my kids! (It’s on my list before the memoir. Definitely a goal for this summer.)
  6. Love. Love God, your family, your friends, your church, the people on the street. Let people around you know you love them. And, make sure everyone knows you love God.
  7. Laugh. I’m talking about enjoying life. The Bible says, it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion (Ecclesiastes 5:18). I want to be remembered as someone like that.
  8. Talk about your funeral wishes with your closest relatives. Write down your favorite hymns, your personal testimony, biographical details, and whatever else you would want for your own funeral. Where do you want to be buried? On your mission field? In a family graveyard? Make sure someone knows where you keep your computer passwords and where your financial records are. Make sure the right people have a copy of your will. Someone needs to know your social security number. Let those closest to you share your important information. You might even want to have copies made for the keys to your home. (We leave copies with a friend any time we travel.) 

Are you ready?

 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. 
For what is your life? 
It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, 
and then vanisheth away (James 4:14).

* Philippians 1:23


HeidiAnn Geiger said...

Good article... which hopefully won't be needed. :) Thanks for all the good advice. I like "say the things you want to say"
Just an idea... Some people leave a key with a church member/ business man all the time. The key would be in the office, even if he is not and if you lock yourself out or someone needs it, it's there. Seems like a win-win. :)
It's a needful read...

Wisdomseeker said...

Thank you for reminding me of things I hadn't thought of. Good list to print out and save with information on it for family.