By Jack H. Kirby
Men take an unrealistic view of death today by taking no view at all. Some try to ignore it away, because basically we are reluctant to let our mind dwell on what we consider to be morbid. However, since it is “appointed unto man once to die” (Heb. 9:27), we should wisely and soberly approach death with planning and not shunning. As I think about the time that I must die, I think of the words of Balaam in Num. 23:10, “Let me die the death of the righteous.”
Let me die the death of the righteous that my family may be strengthened by my example. Memories of good people are precious and uplifting. A righteous legacy enriches lives to greater duty. There is no regret about “what might have been.” Comfort lies in the knowledge that faithful Christians are rewarded in heaven. The wise man of long ago said, “A good name is better than precious ointment” (Eccl. 7:1-4). Ointments were costly in his day. They were counted among the riches of the day. Riches cannot buy a good name, but it will live forever. A good name left to our heirs is better than all the earth’s silver and gold.
Let me die the death of the righteous that my friends might have hope by seeing Christianity lived before their eyes. Let me be faithful in living the Christian life. Let me show compassion toward people by caring and ministering unto them. Truly it is more blessed to give than receive.
Let me die the death of the righteous that I might have confidence at death. “Perfect love casteth out fear” (1 Jn. 4:18). How sorrowful to come to life’s end not prepared for judgment! What a terrible thought to know the soul is lost forever! What a rejoicing to know the hope of the Christian-a hope both sure and steadfast, a peace that passeth all understanding.
Let me die the death of the righteous that some soul might be led to Christ. The good that men do lives after them. Abel “being dead yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:14). Sermons preached, lessons written, and words spoken live on in the hearts of men. Memories and examples of lives already lived sometime motivate men to faithfulness.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psa. 116:15). And so I pray, “Lord when I die, let me die the death of the righteous.”
Truth Magazine XXII: 20, p. 322
May 18, 1978