Monday, September 23, 2013

Guest Blog - Death: A Place We All Must Lay

Occasionally on this blog I want to highlight a number of other leaders, Christians, and writers. The following is a guest post from Bobby Sharp, the pastor at Friendship Baptist Church in Hardinsburg, KY and a good friend of mine. You can access his blog here.

My phone rang about 10pm. It was the chairman of our deacon board at the little church I then pastored. He said that a relative of a man who would rarely attend services was dying. He wondered if I would go to the hospital with him. So I quickly got dressed and went.

We were not recognized when we entered the hospital room. The man we knew was in the waiting room down the hall and I struggled just to remember his name. He attended our church so seldom. So I understood the family not knowing who I was.

The family was glad to see us. "Sure is good some men of God are here at the end," one said. Just minutes later the medical staff entered to remove life support. A minute past and they were done. They exited the room and one of the family members we had just met asked me to come and pray for this man as he lay taking his final breaths. I prayed as best I could for a person I neither knew nor had any knowledge regarding his faith. A few minutes past and I was asked to pray again. I did, but the second prayer was much like the first.

A few minutes later the man died. I never spoke with him nor even saw his eyes. But there at the end of his life I was there to pray for this man.

I am bothered by this story. I am not bothered by it because it was difficult or disrupting in my own life. Many things in the life of a pastor are disrupting. I am disturbed because I was the only one in this mans life who could be there and pray in that moment. What had happened in the decades leading to this moment that neither this man, nor his friends or family had stopped to prepare each other for how to relate to God and pray for one another in life and at death?

Some may say, "but you are a pastor. You should be the one to fill that need." The fact is that I will come and share with those nearing death. I will pray for them leading up to and in those moment. But when I consider the imminent fact of my own death, it is not a stranger I want at my bedside. I want to be reminded of the love of the Savior, praying for me in my final moments. The grace of Christ is exactly what I want to be reminded of at my end. But honestly, I want to hear it from the mouth of a friend.

Be that friend. Be equipped to pray and share the love of Christ with people. Start by sharing with those around you before it is too late. Don’t be to proud to seek God before you or your loved one find your death bed.
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

Other Guest Posts:
Aaron Coffey - The Anchor Holds? Stability in the Midst of Confusion
Aaron Coffey - Plug It In, Plug It In
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