Death is a part of life. The writer of Hebrews recorded, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Most people try to prepare for death by buying insurance, making a will and other such things. These are mainly for those left behind to make sure they are cared for and not burdened with funeral costs and other bills. This is a good practice, but other things should be part of this planning process.
First, every person needs to plan on facing Christ in judgment. As much as some would like not to think of this, it is going to occur. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). If the proper preparation is done, this day should be a happy one, not one to be dreaded.
God gave his Son to die for the sins of everyone. The Bible has been given to man to know what God expects of each individual. This is truly amazing, because every person is required to do the same thing, no matter where they live, what color their skin is, how much money they have or do not have, etc. This preparation is done by studying God’s word, obeying what it says and living by it every day. It takes time and effort to make this preparation, just as it does to make the proper physical preparation.
Secondly, each person needs to realize that the preparation made for death also will affect those who are left. The example of a person living for and loving God in life also will serve to help those around them to want to know about Christ. Matthew recorded the words of Jesus as he taught about being an example to others (Matthew 5:13-16). We must set the pattern of devotion to God before our children.
When a loved one passes, the memory of how they lived and what was important to them serves to direct the lives of those still alive. What will children remember about their spiritual upbringing?
Will they think of a father and mother who opened the word of God, read it and obeyed it? Will they remember going to Bible study and learning about the love God had for them and all men? It may be that as they face the trials of life, those memories may be all they have to see them through those times.
Abraham serves as a good example of how one should live so as to have influence the next generation. “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Genesis 18:19).
Paul told Christian fathers, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Providing funds and such for loved ones is good and if possible should be done, but the spiritual preparation should be the most important. The physical things provided are going to last only for a little while, but the spiritual will last for eternity.
Those left behind will have to make their own decisions about following God, but a good influence may be just the thing to cause them to follow God.