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Lessons I Would Give If I Were Dying

September 14, 2008

In June and July I lost two of my brothers to death. It caused me to stop and think--if my doctor were to tell me that I was about to die, what lessons would I want to share with others?

Bernie Parsons

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Lessons I Would Give If I Were Dying


by Bernie Parsons


Presented to the Pleasant Ridge, Tennessee, Church of Christ on 09-14-2008


In June and July of 2008 I lost two of my brothers within 18 days. It set me to thinking about my own life, and its brevity. If my doctors were to tell me that I only had a few days to live, what lessons would I want to pass on to others?


The first thing that I would tell people is to pay attention to the two main commandments mentioned by Jesus.


Mark 12:29: "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

30: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31: And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."


Our first love should always be the Lord. We should love Him emotionally, spiritually, rationally, and with all that lies within us. Everything we do should be aligned with His will. We must let God direct our every footstep, and factor into our every decision. We must trust Him as our Heavenly Father.


Luke 11:9: "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

10: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

11: If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

12: Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"


God will do right by us. We must love and trust Him explicitly.


I would tell you to love your neighbors as you love yourselves.


Who is our neighbor? Jesus indicated that it is anyone who need us. Remember the story, in Luke 10, of the Samaritan who helped the wounded stranger? That was in answer to that question.


Ephesians 5:29: "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:"


To nourish means to provide the environment and resources for growth, while cherish means to hold dear. You do this for yourself, do it for those who need you.


The next thing that I would tell you is to always forgive others.

Matthew 6:14: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."


Forgiveness is not just a virtue, it is a necessary requirement for our own salvation. A failure to forgive leads to bitterness, unkind behavior, and burdensome guilt. On the other hand, forgiveness frees your heart and mind, and allows you to get on with life. It also promotes the likelihood of treating others kindly, even those who have harmed you.


Do we forgive only those who ask us to do so? Some believe that. Yet Jesus, while dying on the cross, asked God to forgive those who were crucifying Him. And the righteous man, Stephen, asked God to forgive those who were stoning him to death. My advice to you is to forgive everyone for everything bad that they have done to you. You must.


The next thing that I would tell you is to mend fences.


This can lead to healing of broken relationships, allow for bonding, and cause others to forgive you.


Matthew 5:23: "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24: Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."


James 5:16: "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."


It would be a good idea to start with your family"”ask them if you have ever done anything to offend or damage them in some way. From there, move on to your friends, and then think about your enemies. Why are they your enemies? Are they the problem, or are they your enemy because of some real or perceived hurt that you caused?


Be consistent.


God and Jesus are, and we are the children of God, and followers of Jesus.


James 1:17: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."


Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."


We need to be impartial and consistent. How can people trust us if we are always in a state of flux? What if we are friendly one time, but unfriendly the next? What if we keep a confidence one time, but break it another? Consistency is a godly attribute.


1 Timothy 5:21: "I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality."


I next would tell you to encourage others.


Many people feel weak, if not all of the time, on certain occasions. They need support and encouragement.


1 Thessalonians 5:14: "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men."


Philippians 2:1: "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

2: Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

3: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

4: Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."


Hebrews 10:24: "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"


Hold others in high regard, learn their situation in life, be aware of their problems, and be there for them when they need you!


I would also tell you to kind.


Colossians 3:12: "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

13: Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

14: And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

15: And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."


Ephesians 4:31: "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."


By treating others kindly, we receive a double blessing. The first comes when we see the joy on the other person's face, and then we are blessed that we have made the world a little better place. Put aside anger and wrath, remove bitterness, and be tenderhearted.


I would tell you to be generous, and to help those who are in need.


1 Timothy 6:17: "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

18: That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

19: Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."


Hebrews 13:16: "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."


The King James English word communicate means to share. The apostle Paul said that the Lord told him that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Jesus said that when we assist the poor and the needy among our brothers and sisters, we do it to Him. But we are also told to help those outside the church who are in need.


Galatians 6:10: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."


2 Corinthians 9: 9: "(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.

10: Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)

11: Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

12: For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

13: Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;"


I would tell you to be joyful.


Romans 15:13: "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."


Philippians 4:4: "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."


1 Thessalonians 5:16: "Rejoice evermore."


I would tell you to be good"


”righteous"”in all things.


1 Thessalonians 5:15: "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men."


If you are not a Christian, I would tell you to become one.


Mark 16:15: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."



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