Famous Last Words

Famous Last Words

I am very interested in the thoughts of old people concerning life and how it should be lived.  In fact, I am very interested in the “last” words that one speaks knowing he or she is on the threshold of death.  For example,

Robert Ingersoll said, “O God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul.”  Thomas Payne said, “O Lord, help me!  O God, what have I done to suffer so much?  What will become of me hereafter?”  Voltaire said to his doctor, “I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months to live.”  When told that such was not possible, he said, “Then I shall die and go to hell.”  As long as these men had vibrant life and strength, they were skeptical, agnostic, and irreligious.  But when they were brought face to face with death, they found themselves ill prepared for what was ahead.

On the other hand, David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For you are with me…” (Psalm 23).  Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).  Stephen said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).

What will be our famous last words?  If we shut God out of our lives, then our famous last words will be as sad and regretful as were Ingersoll’s, Payne’s, and Voltaire’s.  But if we obey God and give Him His rightful place in our lives, then our famous last words will be as happy and hopeful as were David’s, Paul’s, and Stephen’s.  What will be our famous last words?

  • Jack Harriman, pulpit minister & teacher

On Being Mature

On Being Mature

“But solid food belongs to those who are mature.” (Hebrews 5:14)

Maturity is the aim of each one of us.  We all like to be regarded as men and women who think, speak, and act in mature ways.

Recently I have been thinking about some examples of maturity.

  1. Maturity is acting better than you feel.
  2. Maturity is enduring a change in a custom and not making a big fuss about it even though you liked it better the old way.
  3. Maturity is being at a church gathering or a para-church gathering when you really did not feel up to coming and not telling anyone how bad you feel.
  4. Maturity is continuing to work in ministries after the newness and glamour have worn off.
  5. Maturity is staying put when the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence.
  6. Maturity is admitting a wrong without excuses or feeling that you have to explain all the circumstances that led you to that act.
  7. Maturity is forgiving yourself when God has.
  8. Maturity is choosing the company of the less popular crowd and enjoying it.
  9. Maturity is receiving criticism without defending yourself.
  10. Maturity is making the time and effort to greet every person in a warm, unhurried way even though that means a longer wait at the cafeteria.
  • Jack Harriman, pulpit minister & teacher

I Died Last Night

I Died Last Night

A man said to his financial advisor, “I died last night.  Tell me, what happened to my estate and the financial well-being of my family.”  He was trying to determine his financial readiness in the event of his death.  But had his death actually occurred, this would not have been his greatest concern.  Let’s suppose that I had died last night.  What would be my greatest concern?

My first concern would be in regard to my personal relationship with God.  Did I become a Christian?  Did I receive the gospel message into my heart, repent of past sins, and was I baptized for the remission of those sins (Acts 2:38)?  This would be my greatest concern.

Did I live a faithful Christian life to the very end (Revelation 2:10)?  That would be my second concern.  Did I worship God according to His instruction?  Did I live a life patterned after His life?  Did I reflect His attitude toward others?  Was I loving, generous, and kind?

My third great concern would be in regard to my family’s spiritual well-being.  Was I the kind of husband that God would have had me to be?  Will my children become Christians and be faithful as a result of my teaching and example (Ephesians 6:4)?  Oh, how pressing this issue would be if I had died last night.

My fourth great concern would be in regard to my influence on others.  Am I, even though dead, yet speaking to my acquaintances in such a way that will encourage them to so live as to get to heaven (Hebrews 11:4)?

One morning someone will ask, “Did you hear that (your name) died last night?”  And when that appointed day comes, our great concern will not be our estate but rather the well-being of our soul and the souls of our loved ones.  Now is the only time to make preparation for that event.

  • Jack Harriman, pulpit minister & teacher