How will your life end? Not many of us choose to spend lots of our waking hours fixated on such thoughts unless you are at a point where your body is breaking down and your physical life is coming to an end.
I have been blessed to walk with people who are asking many important life questions as their time on earth draws to a close. Followers of Jesus have the hope of and promise of glory, while they are encouraged to by Jesus to faithfully finish well. The appeal to “press on” or “finish well” is a journey of valleys and mountain tops as one nears the end of life.
If one’s dying process allows time for contemplation, most all will realize it was not the money, jobs, homes, toys, or experiences that define their existence. What often becomes so clear is the importance and value of one’s relationship with God and others.
In the Bible we see a story Jesus teaches about how God will settle accounts at the end of the age. For those who use what they have been given wisely will be told, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21).
This is not just something nice God says as we stand before Him at the end of eternity, but it is a summation for one who lives life with a holy pursuit. God’s call for those who follow Him is understanding how to live life to the fullest: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24).
The Bible has examples of people “finishing well” as well as those who end poorly. What does it take to not end poorly? Getting comfortable or living in the past robs us of pressing into God’s best for the future. I believe a “forward living” approach, day by day to the very end will gives us such resolve to face the end of life with a confidence as our time on earth comes to an end.
In Jesus we can live like this and have this “saving” life. We see real heroes in the Bible living this way like Nehemiah, but they are also in our community. Pastor Andrew Allen and his family for the past two years have poured out love and compassion as he has faithfully lead others to plant a new church, Redeemer Presbyterian Church. He has energetically labored to share Christ and model a holy pursuit even after being given a terminal cancer diagnosis. As he hands off ministry and nears the end of his physical life on this earth, we praise God for his life and calling.
Thank you Pastor Allen for encouraging me and countless others and for proving faithful as you live and love day by day. May you continue to live in holy pursuit until the day you hear: “Well done good and faithful servant! … Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21).
Pastor Frank Alioto serves as the Spiritual Care Coordinator at Central Peninsula Hospital and Chaplain with Central Emergency Services.