Death knocked on his door much earlier than he had anticipated. With both parents approaching 90 years old, my dad thought he still had many years ahead of him. But it was not so. At 64, he found his hand on the door through which he would soon enter eternity.
For months, he tried to fight the cancer by himself, but he grew weary. On a cold February day, he submitted his life, how ever long he had left, to Christ’s lordship and allowed the Holy Spirit to have complete control. He was at peace because he had yielded everything to Christ and was determined to live out his last days serving Him.
Weeks passed as he examined his life through renewed spiritual eyes, and he didn’t like what he saw. Somewhere along the way, he had let his priorities get out of order. What was once Jesus first, family, then work, changed as his business and personal life became more important. Since he had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior as a young boy in Sunday school, he thought this arrangement was okay. Why wouldn’t it be, as long as Jesus was still in the mix somewhere? But now he knew he was wrong.
Asking God for forgiveness was freeing. However, he realized he must have influenced many people through the years. He wanted to find a way to tell others that his priorities weren’t right and share how important it is to have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
With the help of some co-workers, a luncheon was planned. Everyone my dad knew was invited. As I stood in front of the room full of people, I focused on the words he had spoken to me an hour earlier from the hospital bed in his bedroom.
“Beth, tell them I had it all wrong. Tell them the number one priority in my life should have been a relationship with Jesus Christ. And then tell them I love them and I want to see them again one day in heaven.”
Tears streamed down Daddy’s face later that day as he watched the video my brother made of his friend and me sharing his story and his rediscovered faith in Jesus. Over a hundred people attended the event where 54 decisions were made for Christ—first time decisions and rededications—because of daddy’s testimony.
Twelve days later, he passed through death’s door into glory and was met by his Savior. We continued to receive reports from those whose lives had been changed because of his willingness to walk with God and be obedient, even in his last days. God used my daddy in a mighty way, but how much more could God have used him if he had surrendered earlier in his life?
Are you waiting to serve God? Are you thinking one day you will get serious and follow Him? Are you seeking God for your purpose, or waiting till you get older? We aren’t guaranteed time or old age. We must seek God now and ask Him how He wants us to use the time, talents, and gifts He has given us.
Don’t let death knock on your door before you fulfill God’s plan for your life. Allow the Spirit to fill you and use you now, “[being] careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time” (Eph. 5:15-16).
Dr. Stanley explains how we can make the most of our days in his radio message, “Walking in the Spirit.”