Good day to each of you reading this column on a very real subject, you know, the one that no one wants to talk about, but one we all must face.
I was recently reading the Lexington Chronicle and came upon the following—Wild Last Wills—you learned as a child, “listen my children and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” He Was a true Patriot—an excellent silversmith, too. Which made him wealthy in Revolutionary Boston.
But Paul had a beef with one relative. Most of his children and grandchildren got $500.00 each, a big chunk of change in 1818. With one exception. One grandson received $1.00. Imagine the family discussion when that will was read! Historians aren’t sure why the grandson fell out of favor.
Harriett Beecher Stowe penned an incendiary novel about slavery called “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Abraham Lincoln told her, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that caused this great war.”
Her literary career was so successful that when she died in 1896 she left her son valuable railroad stocks—and a Florida orange grove.
Daniel Webster was a flinty Granite Stater who served as senator, secretary of state, and who factiously bested Satan in “The Devil and Daniel Webster.” But he couldn’t best death. When his time came in 1852, his will disposed of every last belonging, including his fishing tackle and a gold snuffbox decorated with a George Washington’s likeness. A lucky grandson got those goodies. (And who wouldn’t want a gold snuffbox?)
JPMorgan was the richest man in America in his day. We’re talking Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates wealth. During the panic of 1907, Morgan personally saved the U.S. government from bankruptcy. That’s how rich he was. When he died six years later, his handwritten will left “One Million Dollars” (the emphasis was his) to his wife. That would be nearly 40 million dollars today. The widow Morgan did not go without.
Finally, history provides an object lesson. Abraham Lincoln died without a will. Remember what he did for a living before the presidency? He was a lawyer. That’s right; the man famous for writing the Gettysburg Address forgot to write a will for himself, thus proving the old saying, “Cobbler’s children need shoes.” That caused tremendous problems for his widow, the emotionally tormented Mary Lincoln. Settling the estate was a long, bitter, costly affair that played out in the newspapers.
So, do your loved ones a huge favor. If you don’t have a will prepare one. Your relatives will be happy to know that gold snuffbox will be staying in the family.
I hope you enjoyed this little bit of trivia as it ties in with our subject.
Have you met someone who is “spiritually dead?” Jesus never “beat around the bush” and expected and demanded loyalty. Harsh—Not at All, for we as Christians and followers of Jesus are held to a higher standard and loyalty falls greatly in this category.
If we are to be Christ-like or of the same mold of Christ, then we are “spiritually alive” and full of the Holy Spirit. Jesus used the word “dead” 33 times—Jesus was how old when he was crucified? Some scholars say he was 33 years old. Hmmm!
Let’s look at the first time Jesus used the word “dead” which is in Matthew 8:22(NIV) But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
At first, would you say this is harsh? Why would Jesus make this statement? Did he not care about the dead? Let’s delve a bit deeper and look at Luke 9:59-60 (NIV) He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
When reading the two above verses, Luke goes into greater detail than Matthew as to why Jesus made these statements. The disciple was not willing to follow or commit to Jesus and Jesus was not accepting this disciple’s excuse.
The disciple was placing his father before Jesus by asking Jesus to first let him go and bury father. We don’t know whether the father was dead or alive, financially strapped, only child but we do know that the disciple did not want to commit to Jesus. Nothing should be placed above a total commitment to living for Jesus even though other loyalties in our life may compete for our attention.
Are you “spiritually dead” to bury the physically dead or are you “spiritually alive” having placed that total commitment to live for Jesus even though other loyalties in your life may compete for your attention?
We all have a choice—As for me and my house—We will serve the Lord. Just one more thing, turn I Corinthians 15:21-22 (NIV) For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
I pray that each of you in Christ reading this column will be made “spiritually alive.” May God Bless you in all that you say and that you do and may you Bless God in all things both great and small.