Every trip I make with Sharon to Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Hospital, I am reminded how important it is for people to “put their house in order.” This trip in particular seemed to have some really sick people held in the grip of some form of cancer.
While we are very grateful for Sharon’s good report, we are reminded how terminal we all are. I hear of too many people with some kind of medical anomaly and it breaks my heart, as I know it does yours. The bodies our Lord created for His purposes are amazing yet so fragile.
Scripture tells us especially in Psalm 90:10-12, “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away.” Or James 4:14. “Yet do you not know what your life will be like tomorrow? You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
Life is far too short to practice denial or to put off those big things that need attention. After a negative prognosis, sometimes all the physician can say is “put your house in order.” He thinks that somehow this statement prepares people for the inevitable. That being said, there are some huge benefits for “putting your house in order” and you don’t have to wait until the end.
Specifically, putting our house in order:
(1) Causes us to answer the “what” question. Facing the frailty of life causes a person to stare down the issue of what he or she is here for. It doesn’t matter whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, we are here for a reason. At the near end of our days, what will be our answer?
We cannot live for ourselves and be satisfied. We cannot continue to carry a grudge or bitterness in our hearts toward someone and be at peace with God or ourselves. We are here for a purpose and it is bigger than we are. It is our Lord’s purpose, not ours alone.
(2) Causes us to realize there is no guarantee of a tomorrow. Jesus said, “don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:34 CSB). Lots of people wring their hands and fret about this negative thing or an unfinished project that is impossible to complete within a day. Sometimes we need to come to the end of the day and take the impossible out of our hearts and hand it over to the Master. Then see if He wants us to pick it up the next day or not.
If we do have some tomorrows still in the tank, we want to maximize them toward fulfilling our purpose. The procrastinator’s code of “never doing today what you can do tomorrow” becomes irrelevant when today is what you have.
(3) Causes us to see with a different set of eyes, the stewardship of things entrusted to us. The wise follower of Christ knows that our stuff is not really ours, but His. When you put the financial house in order, you don’t want to invest in the frivolous. You want to make certain that what you leave behind continues to give a powerful testimony of God’s generous grace.
Part of that stewardship means avoiding a tax-contribution at the end of life. Instead, develop a plan that blesses future generations. Because of the goodness the Lord has shown you, now bless others. Avoid the mistake of leaving a mess for your family. Plan to leave a blessing.
The Missouri Baptist Foundation has excellent methods to help families with stewardship plans to bless your family, your local church and ministries that are important to you. After all, January is Make a Will Month. So, give them a call at 800.776.0747.
(4) Gives us a sense of satisfaction that we have done the right thing. It is always good to do what is right. You may not want to at the moment, but when you do, there is a rest that comes within you. Sometimes that rest has a healing component that no one can really explain, but the Lord knows. Sometimes that rest has restoration power that brings people to a place of realizing a much deeper meaning to life.
So why wait until the end to be a good steward? Begin now, and allow the Lord to prosper you with His indescribable grace.