Ronald George Jr.: Some people don't die, after all
Revelation 14:13: Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."
If you live long enough you're gonna die. Do you believe that? I do and I have seen it happen. Folks will get stiff and cold. They will stop moving and talking. They will assume room temperature, and to us who are warm and alive, that is cold. That's when they say you are graveyard dead and dead as a doornail. Now I understand the graveyard saying but what about the doornail? I have seen doornails and they really don't look anymore dead than any other tack, nail, or railroad spike. But these doornails are stuck in a position to hold the door up. They're cold and forgotten until someone kicks the door off its hinges.
Why would you want to compare death to a doornail? I don't know that, but I do know that we all have to walk that lonesome valley and no one else can go there for you. You've got to walk it all by yourself. I have heard people talking about dying and paying taxes in the same breath as things that you have to do no matter what. But Hebrews 9:27 says that it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment. No talk of taxes in that verse, but Jesus did say to give unto God, and unto Caesar if you have to. Last Monday was Memorial Day, and so was the time we normally start thinking about those who have gone before us. They met their appointment so they are like doornails and graveyards now.
For many a mountaineer, death seems to be the prize in the box of crackerjacks that you don't want to open. But it's there and somehow we have to learn to live with it, cause you can't live without it.
Try explaining this to a 4 and a half-year-old. I was delivering my grandbaby to the preschool today and on the way she is asking me questions and I am not paying attention. So, the next thing I know she says, is MaMaw going to die when I get old? So what to do now? Do you tell them the truth? Do you lie? Or do you try to smooth it over so that they never know that you lied or told the truth? Well, being the truth-bearing individual I am I decided to tell it to her straight and try to help her to handle the awful truth of life. Guess what? Bad answer! My Amy Leigh is now sobbing uncontrollably as I prepare to drop her off, but before I did, I told her no, MaMaw isn't going to die. ... I can't believe I did that. I did, I said that she isn't going to die. Well, that helped Amy recover enough that she did get out of the truck and go to class. As she does, I hear the teacher say you have been crying. I made no comment and climbed back into my truck for my getaway.
Getting old isn't so bad when you consider the alternative. But we all must walk that lonesome valley. How can we make it through life knowing that death is at the end? Many a mountaineer has decided that life is all you get so you better make the most of it and exploit it all. Take all you can get and then some. So many have seen the end of life as the final goodbye. These have given up on living. But wait, there is hope? Where is it in the church? Is there some hope seen there? The storeowner says why should I come to the church when the deacons there have run up a bill and haven't paid. Others would say there is no way I can make it to heaven so I am gonna live like hell. The church says that's right, goodbye and good riddens.
Jesus says, for those who believe in Him won't die but have everlasting life and they will lay their bodies down, or just go to sleep. They lay their tired bodies down and open their eyes in heaven, because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Now wait, I did tell Amy that MaMaw wasn't going to die. I didn't lie to her after all. For those who believe in Jesus in that they give their lives to Him will never die. Do you believe this? What if you don't cut your hair or shave your beard or speak in tongues or do all these other things that people say we must do to be saved?
Paul said believe. By believing he means to give your life to Him/Jesus. You can't just say a sinner's prayer and be done with God. Give your life to Him and you can be saved. You can make it through Him. It is amazing grace. It is a gift of God. Don't boast about how you look, how you talk, how you dress, how you act like you're not a sinner and you think you are so much better than others. This faith, He says, is His gift to you and me. Ephesians 2: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- Have faith in Him to save you! Believe in Him to be free to live without fear.
MaMaw and Pappy are going to lay these old tired bodies down but we will be with Him who died on the cross and rose the third day.
Go rest high on that mountain. Your life down here is done. You can say you gave your life to Jesus and He took care of the rest. Don't look at others and compare them to you. Look to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Don't look at the church, the preacher, and the requirements set up by man to help you to conform to man's image. Follow Jesus and be like Him and you are on your way, which is the way, the truth, and the life. Come follow Jesus. Don't follow me or anyone else.
He will save you. He will save you now. I John 5:13. Don't you know it? Go rest on High!