Thanks for coming to my funeral. Rejoice that I finished my race and stayed the course. If you wonder about the fork in my hands, it’s meant to signify that I am going to a better place of Providence…and a great banquet meal! One last thing, consider your life in reverse. What would you want people to say about you at the end of your life? Then start living that way now.
With a week left before my death, I decided to write this letter to the five of you that I helped find faith in Christ. You have been part of my discipling focus and I want to assure you that life can go on even when I am no longer around. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider:
First, Jesus has a future hope for you. Proverbs 23:18 says, “there is surely hope for you.” Look ahead and allow His view of your present and future stabilize how you are feeling at the moment. Psalm 23 is a great text to reflect on because he said he would lead and guide you, so trust Him.
Second, go deeper into truth. Jesus said you will find it if you ask, seek, and knock. It requires effort. I know you have questions about the Bible, dealing with your old way of life, new values, handling your money, and many other matters. I suggest you avoid being spiritually stunted and ineffective by pursuing answers in Scripture. Continue with the five fingers of the Hand illustration I modeled and taught you. You need to 1- hear, 2 – read, 3 – study, 4 – memorize, and 5 – meditate on Scripture. Discipline yourself to get in the Scriptures individually and with a few others regularly like we did. Get with a strong believer in Christ (i.e., a Paul) who can help you explore Scripture, gain greater understanding and clarity, and apply biblical truth.
Third, pass on what you know to a few others. As I said to the five of you when I assembled our group…we were designed to multiply and divide. I invested in the five of you, while you found five to invest in as well. It’s called trans-generational ministry: Jesus influenced Paul, who influenced Timothy, who influenced the “many witnesses” of 2 Timothy 2:2, who influenced faithful people, who would influence others also. See the five layers of the process? Tell your five “Timothy’s” what you’ve seen and heard. Use transferable concepts like I used with you. Surely you can model and teach how to handle the Bible, pray, share your faith, manage your time & money, deal with and overcome temptation, and be a responsible steward of all you have.
Fourth, you will avoid some pain if you continue to work on your character. Half-truths and deception lead to others being hurt and your witness for Christ being watered down. Speak and live the truth. Read Lamentations 1:1-9 – verse 9 says Israel did not “consider her future.” The choices you make today are the building blocks of the person you will be in the future.
Fifth, keep your eyes, mind, and body pure. Remember the GIGO principle – garbage in, garbage out. You’ll find that the more you avoid your old way of life (i.e., impure words, images, and experiences), the fewer struggles you will have with bad memories, old habits, and sinful thoughts in the coming days. Those harmful things are forgiven as far as east is from west. But how will you live differently in light of my passing? What does God want you to be like in 5-10-20 years? Whom will you choose to be? How will you finish your race?
Live communally. Care for one another. Pass on what I taught you. Remember the words from Matthew 28 to “come and see, and go and tell.” I entrust the gospel to you and charge you to pass it on to the five people you are investing in. What you feed grows. Faith fuels your future.
Love is a verb,