A great emperor of Constantinople ordered a mason to announce at every feast, “Choose, oh Emperor, which of the two stones do you want for your tombstone!” All of us will die, it has been said, the more we are acquainted with death, the less it terrifies us.
I believe with all my heart that the Bible is the greatest book ever written. The Bible tells us we are made in the image of God. He loves us with an everlasting love. The World Health Organization, by way of my friend, Bob Anglea, tells us that over one hundred fifty three thousand, four hundred souls die in our world each day. We are the guests of God all the days we live. The Bible tells us, “It is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment.” Death is God’s plan. We are not born to live on Earth forever. God has something better for us. What God has planned for us is better than we deserve.
Our dreams and hopes reach beyond the boundaries of Earth. We thirst and hunger for things the universe cannot satisfy. Jesus wanted us to think big. He said, “I have come that you might have life more abundant. My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” Milton said, “Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity.”
The Bible tells us, “We brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Death is the end of our earthly journey. If we are right with God, we need not fear death. Walter Savage Lander said, “Death stands above me, whispering low, I know not what into my ear, of this strange language all I know, Is there is not a word of fear.”
Vance Cheney tells us, “The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.” Euripides said, “The dead have no tears, and forget all sorrow, without a doubt this world is the land of the dying, the next is the land of the living.” Jonathan Swift said, “It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary and so universal as death should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind. Death is the only door that takes us to the Father’s house.”
One of the kings of England had his servant to remind him every morning, “This is the day the Lord made, and one day, mighty King, you will die!” Saint Bernard said, “Death is the gift of life. It is the end of our journey on Earth.”
Socrates said, “Be of good cheer about death, and know this of a truth, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.” Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
Jesus gave His life to save you. If you are not saved, it isn’t His fault. David said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside still waters, He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, Thou art with me.”
Stone by stone a wall is made, and each stone must be square; Petal by petal a rose unfolds, and each petal must be fair. Little by little a faith is built, day by day it grows
Stronger at last than a wall of stone, and lovelier than a rose.
Morning prayer! “Thank You, Lord for a restful night; Thank you for the morning’s light, Thank you for friends so dear, And loved ones who bring us cheer!”
Robert V. Ozment is a retired United Methodist minister.