READING: Genesis 46-48, Matthew 13:1-30
Then Israel said to Joseph, “Look, I am about to die. . .”
Some of my sweetest moments in ministry have been at the bedside of a dying follower of Christ. I know that sentence sounds morbid, but these times truly have been some of the most blessed, genuine, eternal moments of my life. I think of one sister in Christ who had walked with God for many years, but whose body was increasingly destroyed by cancer. Her pain must have been intense, but never did she complain. Instead, she spoke of God’s goodness throughout her life, including “trusting” her with her illness so that she might be a good witness for Him.
Another brother passed into eternity singing God’s praises, despite years of complications brought on by diabetes. I can still hear the strained words, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!” Still another slept quietly into eternity, resting both in life and death. So powerful have these moments been to me that I have no fear of death and no worries about eternity. And, I realize over and over again how important the work of ministry is. We truly do touch the forever.
In today’s reading, Jacob faced his final days, but he did so speaking of God. He wanted to be buried at his family burial place in Canaan, and Joseph made that commitment to his father (Gen. 47:29-31). Jacob recited his history of God’s blessing, including God’s promise to him, “I will make you fruitful and numerous; I will make many nations come from you, and I will give this land as an eternal possession to your future descendants” (Gen. 48:3-4). His life had been difficult, but still he knew the God who had walked with his fathers Abraham and Isaac, and who had shepherded and guided his life from the beginning (Gen. 48:15-16). Then, even as he knew his death was coming, he could assure his son Joseph that God would be with him, too, and bring him back to the land of his fathers (Gen. 48:21).
What a way to approach death: remembering God’s promises, reviewing God’s blessings, and encouraging God’s next generation to trust Him with the future. When the Lord calls me home, I pray that I, too, will be speaking of Him like that.
- Live your life today so that you would be ready if the Lord were to call you home.
- Consider the next generations in your family. Show them how to live for God.
PRAYER: “God, help me to live today so that I might die with Your name on my lips.”
TOMORROW'S READING: Genesis 49-50, Matthew 13:31-58