Revelation 2:10 – Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. (RSV)
Jimmy has been a friend, and more — a brother — to each individual church member. Surely, his absence will be felt by us all.
One recent weekend, several members set off for a study tour trip in one of the parks located in the north side of our country. Jimmy happened to be leading the group. As they drove in and around the park, suddenly, a group of assassins attacked them, demanded all that they possessed, and later shot dead eleven of them, before being chased off by the park's security agents. Among the dead was Jimmy.
Just a few minutes before he was assassinated, Jimmy bargained before the assassins for the safety of his group members — perhaps because he was the group leader. Unfortunately, he fought a losing battle. On the first shot, just before he lay dead, Jimmy's last words to the assailants were, "We'll meet in heaven." After these words, he died.
He leaves a challenge. How many of us are as "ready" for the death minute as Jimmy? He could afford to speak thus (actually he prayed for the assassins) because his ways were right before the great heavens (that is, his God). His was a situation similar to that faced by Jesus, when, on that Calvary pole in great anguish and pain, he was able to say, "Father, pardon them for they know not what they do." Several of his followers, including Stephen, Paul and Peter, faced their martyr hour with joy, and could manage to pray for those carrying out the execution. This was only because their ways were right before God, their master. How about us?
Life can be pictured as a passenger train that has fixed stopping stations where some people board and others off-board. The personal question is: "How ready am I if today is my turn to off-board?" (We must remember we cannot resist this; it is out of our control.) Let's pray that our ways may be straight before Him each day, for we know not the hour of our visitation.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we humbly ask that you convict our souls to yield to your ways, that we may approach the verge of eternity with your divine assurance of catching up with friends and enemies before thy mighty throne. In Jesus' name. Amen.