There have been many people who, during their final hours/days/weeks on earth, became the givers of peace rather than the recipients of consolation. Have you known of someone, who even knowing they had limited time left in this life, still gave and focused on others rather than themselves?
How does the behavior of such people affect you?
Is this something Christians should aspire to do?
Is it easy to think of others in a loving manner when you know your own life is ebbing?
Can God provide the love and grace to be instruments of peace at any time? YES, HE CAN
Even the apostle Paul, imprisoned and on trial for his life, could offer words of encouragement in his letters to the churches. What was his secret? I think he embodied the “living love of God” that he had obtained during his ministry.
Francis of Assisi, thirteenth-century saint, has been quoted as having said: “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV) "May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
Philippians 1:22 MSG "As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it's better for me to stick it out here. So, I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We'll be praising Christ, enjoying each other."
Luke 23:39-43 (NIV) "One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: 'Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!'” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Recently, my wife and I visited our (my first) retired elderly pastor that had taught us about Christ, loved us, inquired as to our wellbeing, shared his family with us, prayed with us, encouraged us, saw us accept Christ as savior, helped us develop as Christians, fed us spiritual food, married us, dedicated our children for us, and was an example of a true shepherd as he led us so many years ago. He is in his 90’s and feels he doesn’t have much longer before he sees his savior, Jesus. During this half hour visit I still felt the love of God emanating from this saint towards us. Pastor G.P. still cares, and was encouraged that we still remain true to our Christian calling many years ago. He shared encouraging words as he and I each offered up prayers. We are encouraged as we witness pastor Finishing the Race Strong. Pastor is still an Instrument of God’s Peace.
With God’s loving assistance, we can all share the love and peace of God with others. Let’s not wait until we are near the end of this life before we share the peace of Jesus. Keep the race going and finish strong for Christ! Amen
Mark 10:27 (NIV) "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'”