Martin Wiles

Dr. Martin Wiles

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. --Hebrews 9:27 KJV

Conversations in a physician’s waiting room can be interesting and run the gamut.

As my wife and I sat in the waiting room -- waiting for her to be called back for her colonoscopy -- we listened to the various conversations. One between an older man, his son and the receptionist. The receptionist called the man’s son to the window to answer some questions his father had omitted when filling out his paperwork.

“Does he have a living will?” she asked.

Turning to his father, the son asked, “Do you have a living will?”

“Yes, I want to live,” the man responded.

While I laughed under my breath, the receptionist and the son concluded the man didn’t have a living will -- and didn’t even know what one was. His anxiety about the procedure was evident, and as my wife later learned, the doctors didn’t do everything they had intended because of it.

The writer of Hebrews makes a pointed reminder to his readers: everyone is going to die and judgment will follow. Sobering thoughts. Not ones I enjoy thinking about, but ones I must entertain.

A living will is important if I don’t want to be kept alive by artificial means -- sometimes leaving one on life support and in a vegetative state. From my family’s experience with my father, we discovered a living will isn’t enough. A DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order is also necessary since doctors can override a living will.

Having a normal will is also essential if I don’t want the state to take my possessions or distribute them in a way I wouldn’t approve of. Having a simple will drawn up is inexpensive and can even be done through online legal services.

But more important is the preparation we make for our eternity -- not for the comfort of those we leave behind. We will not live forever, and we cannot know the date of our death. But we can know whether or not we’re prepared. Trusting Christ as our Savior and living in obedience to His commands are the only ways to prepare. Doing so re-establishes the relationship sin broke and fits us for heaven. Like the man in the physician’s office, I want to live -- but I also know I’m going to die.

Take care of those you’ll leave behind but make sure you’re prepared for what’s ahead.

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Martin Wiles is managing editor of Christian Devotions, assistant editor of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and author of Grits & Grace & God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. His work is featured at www.lovelinesfromgod.com.


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