How do Christians know when they are ready to die?

It will happen

We’ve all heard the humorous illustration used by many preachers that you never see a hearse towing a U-Haul.

We’ve also heard the story of the rich and famous American industrialist whose one friend asked another at his funeral, “How much do you think he left behind?” The other responded, “All of it.”

It will happen. Unless we are in that final generation that will hear Christ’s call while still alive, we will die. Sometimes I wonder if some of them will look back with a slight longing for some of the stuff they will leave behind.

How do you know? Two possible answers

You are ready to pass the baton and you are looking ahead

The Apostle Paul’s last letter was to Timothy. He was a longstanding partner in ministry who had served with Paul since his youth and was still a young man. He would carry on Paul’s work after he was dead. Paul’s letter is full of advice. Timothy was to find others who would receive the baton from him and he should be sure that they would pass the baton as well.

Paul expected to receive a crown of righteousness from Jesus that was reserved for those who lived as if they looked forward to Christ’s Second Coming. Paul was ready to pass the baton and was looking ahead. (2 Timothy 2:1–7; 4:1–18)

You travel light

As C. S. Lewis became famous in the 1940s people began to write to him for advice. He thought it important to answer every letter as a part of his ministry to the Church. An American, Mrs. Van Deusen, first wrote to Lewis in 1949. They corresponded regularly over the next fourteen years discussing many issues. In the Fall of 1963 she wrote to Lewis about how she was uncomfortable with the impending move that she and her husband were making to a place better suited to them as they aged. On Thursday, November 21, 1963, Lewis wrote that he was also uneasy with change but it was necessary to prepare us for the last great move. He wrote, “We must ‘sit light’ not only to life itself but to all its phases.”

It was one of the last letters he wrote. He died at 5:30 pm the next day after a nap and afternoon tea. (Lyle W. Dorsett. Seeking the Secret Place: the spiritual formation of C. S. Lewis. Brazos Press, 2004. Pages 152–159. William Griffin. Clive Staple Lewis: a dramatic life. Harper and Row, 1986. Pages 447–449)

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