Pastor Cal's
Weekly Epistle

Every week Pastor Cal
writes a weekly column
for the Spirit Page of
the Norwich Bulletin.

He also sends it out to
members and friends of
the church via e-mail.

E-mail him at
calstigers@gmail.com if
you want to be added to
the weekly list.
Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) 596-4929   

Check out our blog at Central Baptist Life
Are You Writing Your Obituary?                          January 16, 2013

Dear friends,

I know this sounds morbid but I am going to ask anyway.  Have you thought about
writing your obituary?  I'm serious.  You never know when your time will come.  I
think we all should be prepared.  I'm writing mine today and will continue writing
tomorrow and for as long as it takes.

Every morning, for as far back as I can remember, I have opened the newspaper
and looked for two things before reading anything else.  I go to the sports page and
check the  latest box scores.  Then I flip back and look through the obituaries.  I
have noticed that in recent years the order of the two has been reversed.

It could have something to do with my age.  Benjamin Franklin is to have said, "If
my name is not there (on the obituary page), then I get up."  Once you turn fifty
you realize that you are living on the other side of the great slope of life.  You are
no longer that wonder kid with the whole world before you.

So first thing this morning I was reading the obits.  There were nine obituaries
listed.  One man was about my age.  There was a lot in there about his love for his
family.  Another young man died of a heart attack at the age of thirty three.  He
had quite a write up.  He was an avid runner.  His motto was this: "Whether you
finish first or a the back of the pack, what is most important is that you finish."
From what I read I sensed he finished well.

It made me think of Linda Ellis' poem titled, "The Dash" written back in 1996.  It
reminds us that what is important is not the dates we were born and died, but what
we did with the years in between.  It made me think of what the Biblical writer
James had to say -

"Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting
along with others.  It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and
blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced..."

The truth is that we are writing our obituaries with the way we live our lives.  James
knew that.  We won't be remembered by the words we said.  We will be
remembered by the way we lived.  We will be remembered by the way we made
people feel.  Did we share God's love with them?  Did we show them a better path
to follow?  Did we offer God's grace to them so they could find forgiveness, hope
and new life?

None of us knows when the bell will toll for us, but it is never too late to be creating
the space between the dash.  So if you haven't done it yet, start writing today and
live to the glory of God.

God bless.  See you in church.  Cal