Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One Coffin To Go, Please

Seventy-nine years ago, a man in Stanstead Abbots, England bought himself a solid oak coffin for twenty-three pounds --- about $100 at the time. He loved his coffin. He kept it in a shed out behind his house. Every day, he would go out to the shed to give his coffin a polishing.

He did this for at least thirty-three years. Someone discovered this rather unusual routine when the proud coffin-polisher was still polishing that box at ninety-two years of age. At that age, the old fella would occasionally get tired before finishing the daily polishing ritual and hop into his prized casket for a nap.

At this point, I have two observations: 1) The guy who sold that coffin to this gentleman must have been some kind of salesman! 2) I wonder how many door-to-door salesmen stumbled upon the old man while he was taking a nap in his coffin!

When the basket-case casket owner was interviewed about this odd possession (or was it obsession?) of his, he smiled and said he was real happy with his coffin. He had taken enough good naps in it that he felt satisfied that it would do him well for his longest of all rests.

He said, "I even had my photograph taken in it! Wanted to see how I'd look when the undertaker lays me out."

When asked why he valued this polished oak coffin so much, he answered, "I came into the world a bit rough, as one of nine children. Now, I'm making sure I go out respectable --- with an oak coffin that has solid brass handles and everything!"

A couple more observations: 1) I think he can give up on the whole "going out respectable" idea since everyone who read his story made the circular finger motion around the ear and let out a whistle. 2) What exactly is "everything"? Oak. Okay, I got that. Solid brass handles. I got that, too. But what else is there? He sounded like his coffin had extra amenities that not every corpse would be able to enjoy for eternity. (Join me now in doing the finger motion around the ear and the slight whistle).

In today's world, it is not uncommon for the aging to visit a funeral home and make prearrangements for when that time comes so that their family will not have to make all those decisions. It is a very thoughtful and wise act on their part. Some even pick out the type of casket and begin making payments on the whole burial package.

But I haven't seen or heard of any of them strapping the casket to the roof of their sedan like a Christmas tree to carry it home and try it out! Obviously, the British chap, who is now enjoying his long rest in his prized coffin, was the fruit loop in the box of Cheerios.

However, his bizarre behavior raises an important issue. Are you prepared for the inevitable? I'm not trying to sell you a prearranged funeral plan and I don't have any brochures or fliers on premium caskets. When death comes, it only comes to the body. Not the soul. I'm not worried about the quality of the box you'll be buried in. I'm concerned about where the rest of you will go when your body ceases to function.

The most important decision concerning death has to be made while you still have life. Your destination is the issue at hand. Not your transportation. It won't matter if you have a black or a white limousine or a finely polished casket. What will matter is the preparation of your soul's destination for eternity.

You would look rather silly going to the airport and picking out an airplane because it's pretty without a clue as to where it's going.

Be sure to get this right. There's no changing flights once you're in the air. There are no mulligans. No do-overs.

Jesus made it as clear as it can be made: "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Jesus also said, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world (or even a fancy coffin made of oak with brass handles and everything), and lose his own soul." The parenthetical part isn't in the Bible, you understand.

You don't need a coffin in your shed. You need the Christ who shed His blood for your sins in your heart. THAT, I can help you with.

One Satisfied Customer,
Perry Crisp

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