16th March 2013

Dying With Dignity

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Philippians 1:20-21 (NIV)

It may not be a pleasant subject to many, but we can’t escape it—death comes to us all. Jesus faced death, setting an example for us in living and dying with dignity (worthy of honour or respect).  We read in John 19:28, 30, “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished…Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

On June 12, 2005, in a commencement address entitled ‘How to Live Before You Die’, at the Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, the late Steve Jobs of Apple said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Today, we buried a friend.  It was the end of a two-year struggle with cancer. This person died with dignity.  Jim lived life to the full. He loved life and wanted those around him to do the same. He encouraged his family not to accept the status quo, and used life as a tool to teach them how to love and live.  His address book was full of numbers of people he knew over his three score and ten years, and with whom he stayed in regular contact. His infectious smile, sharp mind, and keen sense of humour, endeared him to young and old, black and white, friend and even foe. His last few weeks while in the hospice were spent cheering up the staff, visitors and fellow patients.

Jim was a person of faith but was not a regular church attender.  One of his last requests was that he wanted a cheerful service and that I do his funeral, as I was not the ‘religious’ type. The last year was about preparing his family for his death and putting his affairs in order. He leaves behind six children and 13 grand children. They, and his many friends, spent an afternoon with each other recounting their many favourite ‘Jim stories’.

So, on a beautiful sunny autumnal day, Jim was laid to rest.  However, he still managed to play one final trick and have the last laugh. The wake was held at the Social Club from which he was banned!

Steve Jobs further said to the Standford University Graduates, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

So adapting the James Bond theme—“Live And Let Live”, let us be on His Majesty’s Service for as long as we draw breath.  We know that each of us is far more precious than diamonds and will be with God forever.

Loving Father, as we focus on your beloved Son and the dignified way he lived and died, may we live life to the full in serving you and our neighbour, with passion and power. Also, please comfort those who grieve with the joy which that life and hope in Jesus brings. In Jesus’ name.

Study by David Gibbs

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One Response to “16th March 2013”

  1. Ian Woodley on March 16th, 2013 9:39 am

    Hi David, That’s a great quote from Steve Jobs! Many thanks for sharing today’s Day by Day.

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