I know, not a very “Chrismasy” title, but remember the Preacher’s advice in Ecclesiastes 7:2, 4—
It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.
What would you occupy your time with during the last days of your life on earth, especially if you were restricted to a bed?
Pastor John Ashbrook left us with a great example to follow. Here are some of the things he did:
- Whenever someone visited, he tried to minister to them somehow. If it was medical personnel, he’d ask them their names, get involved with their lives, and point them to Christ.
- He read the Bible, and when he couldn’t read anymore, loved ones read him the Bible
- He looked forward to being with Christ
- He prayed, prayed with others, and others prayed with him
- He talked on the phone with those who called
- He gave thanks to God for the life he was entrusted with, praising Him for the opportunities to serve Him
I’m sure there were other things, but many of these are what family members told me tonight during calling hours, and I saw much of this during a visit I had with him two weeks ago.
One thing he didn’t do was watch TV—he didn’t own one. More and more I’m liking the thought of that. That thing is the means for wasting so much time.
1 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
3 You turn man back into dust
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
4 For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it passes by,
Or as a watch in the night.
5 You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep;
In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.
6 In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew;
Toward evening it fades and withers away.
7 For we have been consumed by Your anger
And by Your wrath we have been dismayed.
8 You have placed our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.
9 For all our days have declined in Your fury;
We have finished our years like a sigh.
10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away.
11 Who understands the power of Your anger
And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
13 Do return, O LORD; how long will it be?
And be sorry for Your servants.
14 O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us,
And the years we have seen evil.
16 Let Your work appear to Your servants
And Your majesty to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.
I didn’t know Pastor Ashbrook personally, but I went to the funeral service today. Apparently, His life left us with a wonderful legacy.
Just hearing of his life inspired me to be there today. From the service alone, I learned of his passion for our Savior. I learned of his
humility and desire to glorify the Lord in all he did. And I learned of his love for all those he taught. I pray that I would stand for Christ in
such a way. I am sure many have been blessed by his dedication to the Lord. Praise the Lord for such devoted service.
Thanks so much, Dan, and thanks for your support throughout this time. We appreciated your presence with us. It helped us get through a difficult time.