How to Die
2 Timothy 4:6-7
It has been said that how one dies is a reflection of how one lived. For instance, the American rationalistic philosopher and lecturer, Theodore Parker, said on his deathbed in 1860, “Oh, that I had known the art of life, or found some book or some one had taught me how to live!” And Yusuf Saladin (d. 1193), a sultan of Egypt and Syria, commanded that his death shroud be fastened to a lance: “Go carry this lance, unfurl this banner, and while you lift up this standard, proclaim this: ‘This is all that remains to Saladin the Great, the conqueror and King of the empire, of all his glory.’”
While those two individuals died without embracing a Christian perspective on death or salvation, millions of others have—and have revealed their commitment in their final words. Take the apostle Paul for instance. From a Roman prison, Paul wrote the last letter of his life to his protégé Timothy. The calm and spiritual repose reflected by his words is in stark contrast to the sense of futility and hopelessness of many who pass through death without hope for their future or contentment with their past. He knows his earthly life is almost over, but he is unperturbed because his life has been like a race—and he is just about to step over the finish line. What athlete gets frustrated at the end of a race that there is no more distance to run? A race is a course, and when the course is complete and the race has been won, there is nothing but satisfaction and peace to revel in.
The way Paul died was a reflection of how he lived. His entire life was about faithfulness to the one who called him out of darkness and into light. Because he had “kept the faith” which had been entrusted to him, he was ready to see face to face in death the one he served in life.
Are you living life today such that your last days will be ones of peace and contentment? Why not renew your intent to have the days of your death be a glorious reflection of the days of your life.
God’s Promise to You: “The purpose with which you live will be the purpose with which you die.”