We had an interesting assignment in our small group at church. In preparation for Easter, we have been studying the chapters in the book of John that lead up to the crucifixion and resurrection, the final days of Jesus here on earth. In these chapters, Jesus is telling his disciples the important things He wants them to remember after He is gone. Our teacher challenged us with this thought: If you knew you had only one week to live, what would be five things you would want to say to your loved ones? That question intrigued me.
I remember the feeling I had when we dropped each of our three daughters off at college. Had I done enough? Did I teach them everything they would need to know? Those eighteen years that seemed to last so long now seemed to be much too brief. As someone has said, the days are long but the years are short. And if I knew I was going to die next week, I am sure I would have those same feelings again. The years went by so quickly, where did the time go? Did I do all I needed to do as a mother and a grandmother? So here are my five things. Only five? I might need more.
For my family,
Here are the most important things I want you to know, the things I want you to remember after I am gone:
- I love you so much, but I could never love you as much as Jesus loves you. My favorite job on earth was being a wife, a mom and a JuJu, and I loved every minute of time I got to spend with you, every phone call, and text. I will not always be here with you. I know you understand that intellectually, but you won’t really KNOW it until after I am gone. You will miss me, but you will always carry a bit of me in your hearts. Just know that I will be waiting for you in Heaven. I am so grateful that each of you has trusted the Lord for your salvation and that we will spend eternity together. Until then, it is my desire that you love each other and keep the family close. Family is important.
- This life is not about your happiness, although I hope you are happy. It is about your holiness, and I wish that for you above all else. You will have good times and bad, mountains and valleys. All of your trials have been custom designed for you by God to make you more like Jesus. Like a sculptor who is creating a beautiful work of art, God is constantly chipping away at all of those pieces that need to go, everything that doesn’t look like Christ.
- While there is much in this world to enjoy, it is not your home. Remember that you carry a heavenly passport and one day you will get to live there permanently. In the meantime, you are on mission, an ambassador for Christ. You will face scorn, ridicule, and maybe even persecution for your beliefs. The world will call you ignorant, narrow-minded, and rigid. They will tell you that the Bible is outdated and no longer relevant. Don’t believe them. Remember who you are and whose you are. Try to memorize as much scripture as possible because a day may come when you no longer have access to the Bible. And remember, you may be the only Bible some people ever see.
- Find a Bible teaching church and join it. Get into a small group and become a part of a faith community. Find your ministry. Get into a Bible study and look for good para-church organizations to join.
- To those of you who are still unmarried, make sure you marry a Believer, someone with a biblical worldview. Craft a mission statement for your marriage and spend your time doing things that have eternal value. Decide early that you will go to church on Sundays, and you will never again have that Sunday morning debate. Are we going to church today? It will just become what you do. Learn to tithe early. Pray and read the Bible together. Cultivate friendships with other Christians. Do good in the world and be kind to others.
Whew! That’s a lot, but certainly not exhaustive. I could have included things like keep your little part of the world tidy, be a good citizen and vote, plant trees, and back up your hard drive. But then, you already know those things. Above all, go back to number one. I love you so much!
For others of you who may happen to read this, I would love your comments. What did I leave out? I look forward to reading your answers.