Nelson Price: When it comes to death, it's best to 'Know before you go'
by Nelson Price
July 18, 2010 12:00 AM | 820 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Do you ever think about dying? If you are the average American, studies show it is one of your three most-thought-about subjects. Yet, seldom do people talk about it.

Jonathan Edwards, considered America's most important philosophical, theological thinker and intellect, had 120 personal resolutions.

One was to think often and intently of his own death.

Hearing that, I thought how morbid it sounded.

Then I realized death being inevitable, it is practical to think about and prepare for it.

You don't see any greeting cards reading "Merry death - Happy Dying."

Candidly, like every healthy person I have a fear of death. It is a good thing. It is a preservative of life. It motivates caution and develops our survival instincts.

Physically, I prepared for my death a long time ago. I planned my funeral and have done everything possible to delay it as long as possible.

It is a good but not easy thing to do. Selecting the casket was a downer.

The funeral director showed me one assuring me it was down stuffed and had a satin covering. He concluded, "It is very comfortable."


I was assured another one had a lifetime guarantee. What am I missing?

From a spiritual perspective, the fear of death which I noted is overcome at the time of death. Jesus said of His followers they would never see death. Sounds out of bounds when it is considered they all die.

It is reasonable when it is realized there are several Greek words that can be translated "see."

One means "to be preoccupied with or transfixed by."

What Jesus' statement means is that when death comes for believers, they pass right on by it without noticing it because they are absorbed with what lies ahead. Joy replaces fear.

When study revealed that to me, I thought I should have known that because the Psalmist wrote, "Yea, thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil."

Perhaps not all religious systems have that belief, but I am thankful to know one that does.

In light of the fear of death being removed when dying, I rejoice and relax on rough flights when I get scared. I rejoice over it not being my time to die.

There is a spiritual dimension to life and death. It is wise to live prepared physically for death.

It is even better to be prepared spiritually.

There is a government sponsored TV ad regarding visiting foreign lands and being aware of their laws regarding drug use. It concludes, "Know before you go." That is good advice in thinking of death.

One philosopher of yesteryear observed it seems strange that people see people dying all around them and never consider it will happen to them.

In light of the ratio of deaths being 1-to-1, I commend physical and spiritual preparation. Know before you go.

The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church. Contact Price at
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