And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21
One of Jesus’ parables has popped into my mind repeatedly over the past two days as I receive updates of my brother Darrell’s apparent imminent demise in South Carolina. Jesus told a story about a man whose focus was fixed on the fleeting, temporal, physical world.
Somebody has said that everybody knows they’re going to die. We just think it’s not going to be today. Even if we have cancer and the doctor has told us our days are numbered, we can fight for life in this world to the exclusion of preparation for eternity.
I don’t know much about my brother’s faith. He received my spiritual encouragement without dissent, but with little outward interest. He prayed with me and appreciated my prayers. He may be headed to heaven. But I really don’t have much assurance.
My brother has fought hard for life. He is one of the longest living survivors of pancreatic cancer – almost 14 years. Just a month ago he told me of his intent to participate in a strenuous bicycle ride in Virginia this weekend. He said he planned to do it again next year. And the next. And the next.
Despite strong urges from all of us, Darrell refused to make a will. It was his way of saying, “This cancer isn’t going to beat me. I’m going to live.”
But instead, God may be saying, “Your life will be demanded from you very soon.” Apparently Darrell will die soon without a will. The stroke was sudden. He is no longer capable of legally expressing his obvious wishes.
Are you ready for eternity? Please, confront the claim of Jesus on your life. And write a will.