Plan Now to Die Well

If you don’t have a better plan for how you are going to die, someone will probably just turn on the television. As a minister of the word of God, I have always thought that part of my calling is to help people die well. That would include Paul’s aim that Christ be magnified in his body by death (Philippians 1:20). I thought of every Sunday’s sermon as part of this preparation for death. And I hoped every visit to the bedside of the dying would be faith-strengthening, hope-giving, Bible-saturated, gospel-centered, and Christ-exalting.

Which is why I groaned at the hospital to find the television glittering in the darkness of the approach of death. This felt utterly incongruous. Bizarre.

One of the most godly women I have ever known was dying. She was full of the Spirit and prayer. On one of my visits to the hospital in her last days, she pleaded with me to pray for her quick death, and shared with me the nightmares she was having of “half-naked women dancing around my bed.” I wondered if there was a connection with the television that the staff turned on.

Perhaps not. But surely we can all agree, there is a better way to prepare our souls to “face our Judge and Maker unafraid.” Part of the plan for dying well is to have friends who share your vision of how to live and die for the glory of Christ. Most of us, in the last days and hours of our death, will be mentally and physically too week to set the agenda. Better set it now.

Old or young, directly or indirectly, let it be known that you want — and need — a Bible-saturated, gospel-centered death. I’m thinking of the kind of death that John Knox chose.

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