Not Dead Yet

  My obituary appeared in the Jacksonville paper: “Smith-Minister Max E Smith, passed June 3, 2010 Gainesville, GA.”  That is a premature announcement.  Like Mark Twain, when it was said he was dead, he wrote in 1897 this famous quote: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”   Please know that I am very much alive.    But, it set me to thinking, if I had died and I am going to someday, what would I want said at my funeral:   
  “Some of Max’s favorite scripture includes the Apostle Paul’s farewell remarks to Timothy.   2 Timothy 4: 6-8 “The time of my departure is at hand, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 

  Max was ready to DEPART…What a beautiful picture of leaving this world, of dying.  It is like unyoking an animal at the end of a weary journey, resting after toil.  It is the word for loosening the ropes of a tent in order to begin a new journey.  This is to be his last and greatest journey.  He has taken the road that leads to God. It can also be the word for loosening the mooring ropes of a ship.  It is setting sail to cross the waters of death to arrive in the haven of eternity.

   So then, for the Christian, death is laying down the burden in order to rest.  Death is laying aside the shackles in order to be free.  Death is striking camp to take up residence in the heavenly places.  Death is casting off the ropes which bind us to this world to set sail on the voyage which ends in the presence of God.  With such a view of death, a Christian does not fear to die. 

Max was ready to leave this world, exchanging the old for the new. 

   He knew that inner joy of having fought the good fight of faith.    He was able to declare, “I HAVE FINISHED THE RACE.”  It is easy to begin, anyone can start, but it is hard to finish, for that is an accomplishment.  The one thing necessary for life is ‘staying power’.  It is the end of our faith that is the salvation of our soul.”

What makes it satisfying is to know that Max ‘KEPT THE FAITH’.  In his service for his Master, he was faithful.  There was no rupture in his love affair with his Lord.                          

  Through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, joy and sorrow, prosperity and adversity, Max maintained his confidence and trust in Jesus. Therefore, you need not grieve as those who have no hope. Your hope is based upon the Word of God.   

  Know this, that God’s promise is true.  There is laid up a CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS for those who have labored in faith and love.  The person whose life is dedicated to Jesus Christ will hear the Master say, “WELL DONE, YOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, ENTER YOU INTO THE JOYS OF YOUR LORD.”   What a victory to go to be with Jesus. The Apostle Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”   Max would claim this, but he would want you to know that this victory with God is not for him alone. 
This joy is open to every person who fights the good fight, who finishes the race, and who keeps the faith. The promise of eternal life with God in heaven belongs to all those who look for and love the coming of Jesus. Jesus promised to all who believe in Him, “Because I live, you can live also.”



2 Responses to “Not Dead Yet”

  1. Good Wednesday Morning Max,

    As always, enjoyed the devotional …. Would like to save off some portions that I might be able to use as notes for building future messages for funerals.

    Everyday with Jesus …. is sweeter than the day before!!!

    God Bless …..

    Bobby R. Awtrey

  2. Max you so organized ! You make everything so easy. Now even your service is planned ! Not a bad idea . A Service for a Christian is easy ,but for someone who is not, what promise do they have for eternity with the Lord ? Thank you for being a faithful servant for Jesus .

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