The message Pastor Steve brought us this past Sunday will be remembered as his last sermon message to us as pastor of Lincoln Baptist Church. Though we hope to see him return as a special speaker now and then, the thoughts he shared with us this past Sunday formed a complete set of bookends defining ten years of faithful ministry.
This fact got me thinking about “last messages.” It got me thinking about life summaries…. Other “bookends” of faithful saints… and of those who lived only for personal pleasures.
The final words of dying folk often reveal their life summaries. Here are a few,
“I don’t care if I live or die. Go ahead and kill me.” – Jeffrey Dahmer, serial killer.
“G_ _d_ _ _ the whole f_ _ _ ing world and everyone in it except you, Carlotta.” – W.C. Fields, American Actor and Comedian. (Carlotta Monti, was Fields’ mistress.)
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” – Joan of Arc
“It’s complete surrender.” – Eric Liddell, Olympic Gold Medalist runner and Christian missionary.
“What do you think is gonna happen when I die?” – Charles Manson, American cult leader and musician
“I give my soul to God, my body to the earth, and my worldly possessions to my nearest of kin, charging them to remember the sufferings of Jesus Christ.” – Michelangelo
“O Allah, the highest companions. O Allah, the highest companions.”- Muhammad
“F_ _ k!” – Lee Harvey Oswald
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” – Paul the Apostle
“My God, what’s happened?” – Lady Diana Spencer (after being mortally wounded in a car accident)
“Crito, we ought to offer a cock to Asclepius. See to it, and don’t forget.” – Socrates, quoted by Plato in Phaedo
“I am finished. I don’t even trust myself.” – Joseph Stalin (as his paranoia grew ever stronger.)
“I’m going to go be with Gloria now.” – Jimmy Stewart (speaking of his late wife)
“I’m going to kill you!” – Carl Switzer (during a brawl over money: after screaming this, he was shot in the groin.)
“Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you.” – Mother Teresa
“Go away. I’m all right.” – H. G. Wells (Wells did not realize he was dying.)
“The best of all is: God is with us.” – John Wesley
“Joseph! Joseph! Joseph!” – Brigham Young (Referring to his predecessor as LDS Church president)
Some knew they were dying, some had no idea. Some called out to the Living Lord, while others cried out to what was no God at all.
Those whose faith rested in Christ died at peace, rejoicing — even worshipping. These were the sort of whom Peter commented, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Pet. 1:8-9).
These last messages summarized lives lived for God… and lives lived for self. What will you grasp at the brink of eternity? What will be your last message?
Listen to Pastor Steve’s message online at the Lincoln Baptist Church website. Click on ‘Media’ and select the May 19 message.