MERIDIAN — "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. " 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NKJV)
This week, I returned to a previous ministry in another state to perform a funeral. I know ministers perform funerals every day. However, this funeral was unique. Madie Leonard was 108.
Madie approached me about “doing her funeral” about 26 years ago. At the time, she was in poor health and 82 years old. When asked, I was 35. I jokingly told her, “Sure, I will help. Just have someone come get me out of the nursing home.” By saying that, I was indicating, we don’t need to make an appointment anytime soon!” Madie must have taken my words seriously because she has kept going until the ripe old age of 108.
When Madie made her “request,” she had no idea that she had so much more time to live and enjoy. When I moved to another state, Madie repeatedly reminded me of my promise. Distance may have separated us but Madie counted on the commitment I made. Every speaking engagement I had near her town, she would come, hug my neck, and remind me of her appointment with me.
This week, I received a phone call from a great-nephew to let me know that Madie had died and needed my assistance. I had to admit, I didn’t have any appointments that preceded hers. I knew before the time and date was determined that I would have “a clear calendar.” Like Madie, all of us could do well to think ahead. She was not sure when she needed my services, but she knew who she wanted when the time came.
I don’t know when my time will come. However, I am already making arrangements. I want Jesus to help me cross over. I have already made my reservation with Him. I wouldn’t have anyone else at that time in my life. Often, I remind the Lord that I am counting on Him and He has assured me in His word that He is committed to be there when I need him.
I doubt I will live to be 108, but, Madie didn’t think she would either. The point is not how long you live but how prepared you are to leave. If you need to make plans for the future, Jesus is taking reservations. Include Him in your plans and He will take care of the details.
Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www. psdbc.org.