James Merritt - On Your Best Behavior
Let me begin by telling you a story. During the 1970s, there was an informal prayer meeting that started off in the White House. It was just kind of a spontaneous thing that different believers, mainly Christians got together and decided that they would have once a week. And for the most part, as I said, it was Christians and it was just a time to inspiration and encouragement and to pray together Well, to everyone's surprise, one day Arthur Burns showed up. If you don't know who Arthur Burns was, he was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and he was Jewish. And he had, even though it was primarily a Christian gathering, he wanted to be a part of this prayer meeting.
Well, they had him in such high respect and did not want to embarrass him that whenever the prayer time came around, they would never call on him to pray. Well, on one particular day, there was a newcomer that came, that was asked to lead the prayer meeting. He didn't even know who Arthur Burns was. He just assumed Arthur Burns was a believer. So at the end of the meeting, he called on Arthur Burns to pray. Well, you can imagine all these regulars looked around like they kind of were embarrassed as in, "Oh no, I can't believe this is so bad, he's put him on the spot". Well, to their surprise, Burns didn't even hesitate. He immediately reached out and joined hands with the persons that were next to him and he prayed. And what he prayed, many said later, was probably the most memorable prayer anybody ever prayed in the White House in those meetings.
I want you to listen to what Arthur Burns, Jewish, here's what he prayed. "Lord, I pray that you would bring Jews to know Jesus Christ. I pray you'd bring Muslims to know Jesus Christ. Finally Lord, I pray you'd bring Christians to know Jesus Christ. Amen". Now I find that last statement to be an eye opening statement. I'm not exactly sure what Chairman Burns meant by that statement, but I will tell you one thing he picked up on and he was totally right. I've lived a long time and I've pastored a lot of churches, and I'll tell you one thing I have seen over and over and over. There's a big difference between a lot of people who say they're Christians, but who are really Christians.
People who say they're Christians, they're a dime a dozen. The vast majority of this country says they're Christians, but people who really are something else, because I'm absolutely convinced and more convinced than ever. If you really believe in Jesus and you really belong to Jesus, you will behave like Jesus. I'm gonna say that again. If you really believe in Jesus and you really belong to Jesus, you will behave like Jesus. Now we're concluding a series today. We've been in the book of Colossians, we've been calling the Guardian of the Galaxy because this book focuses like a laser beam on the one who created everything, the one who controls everything, namely Jesus.
And what Paul has been doing in Colossians for four chapters is laying out the Jesus that we Christians say we believe in and we say that we belong to, but now Paul says, "Okay, you say, you believe in Jesus. You say you belong to Jesus. Then what would your life look like if you really behaved like Jesus? And if you really showed on the outside, what you say, you believe on the inside, what would your life look like"? And Paul was right, because we've got a responsibility. When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, when the Guardian of the Galaxy becomes the God of our hearts, we've got a responsibility to behave in such a way before other people that they say, "If that's what it means to believe in Jesus, I want to believe in Jesus. If that's what it means to belong to Jesus, I want to belong to Jesus".
Many of you have heard the name, John D Rockefeller and at the height of his career, John D Rockefeller was not only the richest man in the world, he was so rich that the next richest man in comparison looked like he was a pauper. John D Rockefeller, of all the things that he said, said one thing that he became known for. And here's what he said, and he was exactly right. John D Rockefeller said, "I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than for any other ability under the sun. I'll pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun". If we're going to bring other people to Jesus, if we're going to live our lives in such a way that just like a magnet draws iron, people will be drawn to the Jesus that lives in us. If we're going to share the gospel and make disciples, we've got to learn to deal with other people.
Question is how do you do that? Well, you gotta be on your best behavior, Paul says. What does that mean? Well, we're in the book of Colossians chapter four, if you have got your bibles and wanna turn. It's in the New Testament, it's about, oh, I don't know, eight or nine or 10 books past the gospels. And what Paul basically says is, if you will do three things on a daily basis, you really will know how to deal with other people. You will not only say you believe in Jesus, say you belong to Jesus. People will know it because you will behave like Jesus. What do we do? How do we do it? Number one, we're to be devoted to pray for others. That's the first step. You want to get along with others, be devoted to pray for others.
Now Paul begins by saying this very thing. He says, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful". Now let me be very transparent, I've told you this before as your pastor. The hardest part of my Christian life is to pray. I don't mean it's hard to pray, I mean I can pray, that's not what I mean. I mean, to do what Paul said, "Devote yourselves to prayer". Every time I read that verse, it goes like a spear throughout my heart, because I've told you, prayer is hard work for me. It's just hard. But I find myself in good company because I don't know that I've ever talked to a Christian who said that prayer was easy.
Matter of fact, I've got it, can I just be honest? If praying for you is easy, you probably aren't praying. Prayer's hard work, you know why? Because the devil would rather keep us from praying than anything else. And yet Paul talks on an aspect of prayer that we often ignore. He says, "I don't want you just to pray". He says, "I want you to devote yourself to prayer". And that word devote is a compound word, it's made up of a word that means to be steadfast or endure. But then it's a word that has a preposition. That means, it puts this word on steroids. Here's what that word really means. Hold fast and don't ever let go. Paul says, "When it comes to prayer, you hold fast. Don't you ever let go". In other words, here's what Paul was saying.
When I say pray, I'm not talking about something you do occasionally. I'm not talking about just saying a blessing at your meal or, you know, when you go to work, you say a little, you go, "Lord, keep me safe today". You know, or whatever, one of those "Now lay me down to sleep". What Paul said, if you're the kind of praying Christian you ought to be, this is not an act you do occasionally. This is an attitude that you live in continuously. And by the way, this is not a request, this is a requirement. This is not a consideration, this is a command. That's an imperative. He said, "I'm telling you, devote yourself to prayer".
Here's what that means. It means from the time that we get up in the morning to the time that we go to bed at night, we ought to always be in an attitude of prayer. We ought to be looking for opportunities to pray, praying about everything. In other words, what Paul says is unlike most of us, most of the time, prayer is never to be your last resort, it's to be your first resource. You don't wait till you get in the accident to pray. You don't wait until your dad has the heart attack to pray. You don't wait until you get upset with someone to pray. He says, "It ought to be the very first thing you do and you ought to do it continuously".
You know, one of the questions I've been asked as a pastor, many times about prayer, here's probably the number one thing I've been asked about prayer. People will say to me, "How long should you pray? Pastor, I mean, I don't know, how long should you pray"? Let me help you on something. With God, it's not how long we pray that matters, it's how often we pray. I don't think God's up there with a stopwatch going, "Oops, you only went four minutes". That's not what concerns God. It's not how long, it's how often. See, we ought to look at prayer the way we look at air, right? I mean, we're always every right now, what are we doing? We're breathing in, we're breathing out, breathing in, breathing out. And the moment you quit breathing, you die. That's the way you ought to see prayer. Prayer ought to be something that you just, it's the breath of the Christian life. We inhale problems every day, we exhale prayer.
So what Paul is saying is, prayer's not just a divine 911 number to call when you get in a jam. He says, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed, the prayer line should always be open. This is one phone that should never be turned off. This is one phone that should never be hung up. We ought to be constantly praying for other people. By the way, that means you pray for people you like and people you don't like. That means you pray for people you get along with and people you don't get along with. It means you pray for people that love God and you pray for people that don't love God. It means people that are on your wavelength politically and people that are not. It means people that are liberal and people who are conservative, it doesn't matter. He says, there's one thing people cannot fight. They cannot fight your prayers. They are powerless against your prayers.
That's why Paul says, "We ought to be watchful". Did you hear what he said? He said, "Be devoted, devote yourselves to prayer, be watchful". Now that's an interesting word. It's the picture of a centurion in an army. You know, if you're out in the battlefield, somebody's gotta do night watch and that means you've got to walk around the perimeter of the camp. You've gotta be listening. You've gotta be watching for every movement. You gotta be mentally and spiritually alert. And here's what Paul is saying. "If you're on your best behavior, you're always looking for opportunities to pray. You're watching, you're waiting".
So let me give you an example. Don't raise your hand, 'cause you might get fired, you're on television. Anybody here worked for a difficult boss? When's the last time you prayed for that difficult boss? Anybody here dealing with a difficult relative? When's the last time you prayed for that difficult relative? Do you realize the reason why God allows these things to come into your life, he's giving you an opportunity to pray. So this ought to begin when you get up in the morning. I've learned, if you'll start your day out with prayer. I learned this a long time ago. If you just start your day out with prayer, it just kind of sets the tone for the day. You say, "Well, I'm not a morning person". Well, let me tell you two things are true. You are a person and you do get up in the morning.
So let's forget that, "Well, I'm not a morning person". I'm telling you, when you get up, begin with prayer, just like an orchestra tunes its instruments before a concert, or just like a carpenter sharpens his tools before he starts working, just like an artist mixes his paint colors before he paints. That's what prayer does for us. So what Paul was saying is, devote yourself to prayer. Keep that prayer line open 24/7. So, let me get real personal with all of us and I'm in the same boat you are. What are some things that you ought to quit griping about and start praying about? Well, what are the things that you ought to quit complaining about and start praying about? Who are the people you keep gossiping about, that you need to begin to pray for? I think it would make a difference if instead of talking about people to God, we started talking to God about people. He said, "Devote yourselves to prayer".
Be devoted to pray for others, change your life. Then he says, number two, "Be determined in what you say to others. Be devoted to pray for others, but be determined in what you say to others". Now Paul's gonna piggyback on what he just said. I love what Paul does. Paul says, "Look, I want you to sell out to prayer. I want you to devote yourself to prayer. I want you to be on that prayer line, 24/7," and then Paul says, "Oh, by the way, let me tell you how to pray for me".
Now, listen to what he says, this is so great. And pray for us, pray for us that God would give me that Mercedes-Benz. Pray for us, that God would give me that promotion at work. Pray for us, that God would always give me what I want when I want it. He didn't come within a mile of saying that, listen to what he's phrased. "Pray for us, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ for which I am in chains. Pray that I'm may proclaim it clearly, as I should". One of the things I love to do when I'm preaching is to just get honest with myself, and how I'm getting honest with myself, I'm gonna get honest with you. I want you to ... Again, this is a great question. You claim to believe in Jesus, you came along to Jesus. You claim to be a follower of Jesus.
All right, think about how many times you've asked God to heal you or someone you love. Think about how many times you've asked God to bless you or to bless someone that you love. Think about how many times you've asked God to find a job. Think about how many times you've asked God to protect your kids. Think of how many times you've asked God to help you make a wise decision. But let's be honest, let me ask you this. How many times have you ever, ever asked God to open up a door for you to share the gospel? How many times have you ever, ever, ever, ever asked somebody, "Hey, would you pray for me"? "Yeah, how can I pray for you"? "Would you pray that God would open up a door for me to present the gospel? Would you pray that God would open up a door for me to talk to somebody about Jesus? Would you pray for God to open up a door for me to present, to share my faith"?
Look, let's just be real honest, we're just getting dead level honest here. You're gonna walk out of here this morning. You've gotta go back to your life, gotta go back to your routine. And here's what you're gonna do, we're gonna do. I'm as guilty as you are, too often. We will walk out of here and until next week we'll talk to anybody about anything and everything except Jesus. We'll talk sports We'll talk news. We'll talk politics. We'll even talk about the weather, but how often do we talk about the one who is Lord over all of that? We talk about Washington DC. Well, how about the one who is Lord over Washington DC? We talk about Hollywood. How about the one that's Lord over Hollywood? We talk about Wall Street. How about the one that's Lord over Wall Street. We talk about the weather. How about talking about the one that controls the weather? For most of us, it's not even on our radar screen.
And I read something recently and it gripped me and I couldn't wait. When I was working with this mission, when I got this, I said, "Lord," in fact, I want you to turn; well, no, you can't do that anymore. So pretend you can. So just do this: turn and look at your neighbor right now and in your mind, here's what you're saying. Listen to the next statement. Now, I want you to listen. "If you are lost and every Christian shared the gospel as much as you share the gospel, would you ever hear the gospel"? Now, let's just fess up, let's just get real folks. If you were lost, if you were lost and every Christian shared the gospel, as much as you share the gospel, would you ever hear the gospel? Paul said, "Here's how you could pray for me. Would you pray that God would open up a door for me to share Jesus? Would you pray that God, if and when He does, that I would share it in such a way that people would understand it"?
Look, let's be honest. Can I tell you why we don't pray for open doors? Can we just be honest here? We're afraid God just might answer our prayer. "I'll be honest, pastor, I don't want an open door. I'm just happy where I am". I'm just wanna tell you something, again we're just talking honest here, we're talking family. It is not enough to show your faith, you've gotta say your faith. You've got to share your faith. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this and every time I hear it, it just, I'm just telling you, I almost have to take a NyQuil. "Well, here's the way I witness. I just try to live my life, the best Christian life I can and set a good example for other people".
Well, there's only one problem with that. People are not saved by your life, they're saved by His death. They're not saved by your life. They're saved by His death and they're not gonna know about His death until you share it with them and they need to hear it out of your lips, "You know what's different about me? Jesus Christ died for my sins. He came back from the grave, I repented. I gave my life to Him and that's why I am so different". Now to be clear, let me just understand something. I don't believe we ought to be busting doors down. I don't believe we ought to be wrecking balls. I don't believe we ought to be insensitive. We need to be discerning of where people are in their life. We need to walk through the doors that God opens and when God does open that door, I've had to learn this, you've gotta be careful how you walk through that door.
That's why Paul goes on to say this, "Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should". Why did he say that? Because Paul knew that how you say something is just as important as what you say. And I'm not at all, hear me, you should never be rude. You should never be pushy. You don't have to intimidate to communicate. We want to share the gospel consistently and clearly, but passionately, you've gotta do it the right way. Yeah, I have seen some people in their zeal, they do more harm than good because they just try to push things on people when it's just not where they are, and I get that. I'd read a story the other day about a priest and a minister and a rabbi. And they were trying to determine who's best at their job. And the priest said, "Well I'm better at my job," and the minister said, "I'm better at my job," and the rabbi said, "I'm better at my job". Well, they came up with a challenge. They said, "Here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna give each other a week. We're gonna go into the woods, find a bear and attempt to convert it".
So they gave each other a week, they said, "Okay, at the end of the week, we'll get back together". Well, a week goes by, they come back together. The priest says, "Well, you know, when I found a bear, I just read the catechism to him and I sprinkled him with the holy water and next week he's gonna take his first communion". Well, the minister said, "Well, I found a bear by the stream and I just shared the gospel. Believe it or not, he let me baptize him". Well, the rabbi wasn't even there, he was late. They didn't know where he was. And about 15 minutes later, he comes staggering in, he's got stitches all over his body. His arm's in a sling, he's hobbling on a crutch, he's got bite marks all over his head. And they said, "What in the world happened to you"? He said, "Well, I probably shouldn't have started with circumcision".
Now, I love that joke, I'm sorry, that's just funny. You just gotta admit, that's funny. Here's my point. You gotta start with people where they are. You can't force them, listen. I'm determined to take every chance I can to turn a conversation toward Jesus, but I've never argued anybody into the kingdom of God. I've never debated anybody into the kingdom of God. I've never reasoned anybody into the kingdom of God. Ultimately we're to do it lovingly, compassionately. Knowing at the end of the day, it's just our job just to present the message clearly and leave the results to Him. So, you want to get along with other people? You want to be on your best behavior? Be devoted to pray for others. Be determined in what you say to others. Ask God, I dare you ask God, "God, every day, would you give me the opportunity to turn a conversation toward Jesus"? You probably can tell, I got my hair really cut yesterday. Really cut.
Lady had never cut my hair before, and normally there's a lady that I normally see, but she wasn't there and I needed a haircut so I went and saw her. I'll just call her Sally, sweet lady. The way it worked out, I was in there just she and I, she's the only one in there. So I get to talking to this lady and I said, "Sally, how are you doing today"? She says, "I'm not having a good day". I said, "Well, really"? I said, "Well, what's wrong"? And I mean, it was so precious in a way, but it was so sad. She sorta, first of the words out of her mouth was, "I've just had a bad childhood. And from there, I mean, it was, you know, I'm outta shape and I needed to start going to the gym, you look like you're fit". And I said, "Well, I work out in the gym every day. In fact, I'm going to the gym after I get my haircut". She said, "Well, I couldn't do that". I said, "Why not"? She's "Well, I'm afraid of how people will look at me".
I said, "Listen, take my word for it. There's so much ego in the gym, you don't have to worry about it, everybody's looking at themselves, they're not looking at you, don't worry about it. I mean, I'm even doing this sometime when nobody's looking, all right". So, and doesn't take long but anyway. So, she tells me this incredible story. She's just got divorced, three weeks ago, been married for four years. She had a baby out of wedlock with another man. He got killed on a motorcycle, the day after her divorce. She got married when she was 16 because her mother got married four times. She had a terrible childhood, she just wanted to get out of the house. She got married at 16, that didn't last. She had three siblings: a brother and two sisters. She was close to all of them. The brother committed suicide when he was 16, the first sister ran into a tree drunk driving, killed herself and the third sister died of a heart attack.
I'm talking to this lady. And I said, "May I ask you a question"? She said, "Yes". I said, "I'm so sorry for what you've gone through. I really am, I hurt for you". I said, "Where are you spiritually"? And I hear this all the time, she said, "Well, I'm very spiritual, I'm just not religious". I said, "That's fine". I said, "Do you go to church anywhere"? She said, "I don't". I said, "Well, could I invite you to mine"? "So what," she said, "do you go to church"? "Well I am, I actually am a pastor". She said, "Oh really"? and said, "Where do you go to church"? I said "Cross Pointe," she says, "Oh yeah". She lives in Lula, but she says, "Yeah, you're at Satellite in Sugarloaf". I said, "Yeah," she says, "I've seen your church before". She says, "I would love to come". And then I said, "Well, can I just go in and ask you a blunt question"? She says, "Sure," I said, "Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ"?
She brightened up for the first time. She said, "You know, I do. I grew up in a Baptist church, I gave my life to Christ when I was young". She said, "But I've not been able to go to church. I work every Sunday". And then she said, "By the way, what time is your service"? I said, "9:15". She said, "I could come to your service. At what time is it over"? I said, "10:15". She said, "I can come because," she says, "I work in Lawrenceville on Sunday anyway". I said, "I'd love to have you". I said, "By the way, I wrote a book called '52 Weeks With Jesus', can I send it to you"? She said, "Yes". And so I said, "Oh, I'm gonna sign you a card," got her address, in fact, I'm gonna do that tomorrow.
Now what's the point? I just have a determination that if I get the shot, if I get a chance, I'm gonna turn that conversation to Jesus. That's all Paul was saying, "Be determined in what you say to others". And here's the last thing and we'll be done. He said, "Be deliberate in what you portray to others". Now, listen to what he says, this really gets so good. Paul now moves from we should say, to how we should act. Here's what he says. "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders". Who's the outsiders, we'll get to that in the moment. "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity".
Now Paul's entire focus by the way in this passage is about not just other people in general, he's talking about people who do not know, they don't know Jesus. They are not believers. It's about people who are on the outside, looking in. That's why he calls them outsiders. They're on the outside looking in, people ... They're in the dark, they need light. They are dead, they need life. They're drowning in guilt, they need to be rescued by grace. And this is a fantastic picture that he paints, but it solves a big problem. Because too many people think once they become a believer, once they get from the outside, looking in, and now they're on the inside, looking out, too many Christians think, "Well, I guess I shouldn't associate with people who aren't Christians anymore".
In fact, just the opposite is true. The moment you become an insider, you ought to be focusing more on outsiders than you ever have before. Once you're an outsider who becomes an insider, you ought to start walking towards outsiders to help them become insiders. So let me put it to you this way. "Those of us who are on the inside of the kingdom, are to walk to those who are outside the kingdom so that we might bring them inside the kingdom". That's why we're here, that is our job. I just want to say a word while I'm in the neighborhood, our small groups, I'm speaking to mine. I don't want a small group to become a holy huddle, and it's just kind of, you know, us 10 and no more. Every small group ought to be going after outsiders. Every small group ought to have outsiders that are coming in.
And let me tell you why: there is no impact without contact. There's no impact without contact. So you should always be walking towards someone that is outside of the faith. That's why we keep asking you every single week, "Who is your one? Who's that one person? Who's that person that used to be where you are"? They're on the outside, looking in; you're on the inside, looking out. "Why don't you bring them on the inside so they can be with you as well"? Now Paul says, "But be wise in how you do it". What did he mean by that? He means, be discerning, be discreet, be passionate, but be kind in the way that you approach people. There's an old joke from the Boy Scout movement, there were three Scouts and they were reporting what they had done that week to be a good Boy Scout.
And one of the boys said, "Well, one of the things we did this week was we helped an old lady across the road". And the Scoutmaster said, "Why did it take all three of you to help the old lady across the road"? They said, "Because she didn't want to go". Now, listen. There are a lot of people you're gonna meet who are on the outside, who are not on the inside. They don't wanna go on the inside. They're perfectly happy with being on the outside. So Paul says, "Be wise, be wise in how you bring them to the inside". We're to be witnesses, not prosecuting attorneys, just be witnesses, just lovingly share with them. Then Paul said, "Make the most of every opportunity". That's what I did yesterday. I said, "Okay God, you gave me an opportunity, I'm going to make the most of it. I'm gonna make it, I'm gonna take it".
Listen, I don't think anybody ought to live a life without regrets. Let me tell you something I read this past week, and it is so true. When you get to the end of your life, we're all gonna have regrets because we're not perfect. At the end of your life, you know what your deepest regret's gonna be? You know what my deepest regret is already? It's the opportunities that we missed, it's the chance we got to do something, but we didn't do it. It's the chance we got to say something, but we didn't say it. And you're gonna be haunted by this question. What if? How many of you, let's be honest, lost a friend, maybe somebody you went to high school with, maybe a next door neighbor, maybe somebody you worked with and they died and you have no clue whether they knew Jesus or not, none.
How many times have you wondered, "What if I just brought the subject up? What if I just shared the gospel? What if I just said a word about Jesus"? And by the way, don't take my word for this. Two social psychologists of Cornell University, they did some research. They found out, listen to this, time is a key factor in what we regret. Here's what they found out. Over the short term, over the short term, we regret things that we do. But over the long term we regret things that we don't do. Here's what they found. When people get to the end of their life and they look back on their lives as a whole, listen to this: inaction regrets outnumber action regrets, 84% to 16%. In other words, when we get to the end of our life and we look back at all of our regrets, it won't be what we did, that we shouldn't have done. It's what we didn't do that we should have done.
Now, all of this goes together. If you'll pray and ask God for open doors and opportunities toward people on the outside, he'll give them to you. And when he does, Paul says, "Be quick to take advantage, be wise in how you do it". So here's his last piece of advice and we'll be done. Listen to this, he says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer everyone". What a word, listen to this. Let your conversation always be full of grace. How our words would change, how our world would change, how our conversation would change if everything we said to everybody was full of grace, seasoned with salt.
And what Paul was saying was, and by the way, this goes for anything in life. So you're a Republican and you're talking to a Democrat. You're not gonna bully that Democrat into becoming a Republican. And you're not gonna bully that Republican into becoming a Democrat. You're not gonna intimidate him. You're not gonna debate them. You're not gonna argue them over to your side. The saying really is true, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar". So what does Paul mean when he says, "Our speech should be seasoned with salt"?
Why does he say that? What does salt do, makes you what? Makes you thirsty. And what Paul is saying is, we ought to live and speak in such a way that people are thirsty for the Jesus that lives in us. You know, people on farms still put out salt licks. I used to see them in Kentucky all the time. You know why they put out salt licks? They want the animals to lick the salt. Why did they do that? Because they want to make sure their animals consume the water that they need. So here's what Paul is saying. We ought to portray ourselves to others in such a way that we create a thirst in them to say, "I wanna know the God that you say you know. I wanna know the Jesus that you say you love," in other words, be on our best behavior.
So, I'll close with this. Maybe the greatest preacher, I believe who ever lived outside of the apostle Paul was Charles Spurgeon, by any stretch of the imagination. You ask anybody, they would say, "Yes, Spurgeon was probably the greatest preacher who ever lived". Charles Spurgeon was lying on his death bed when he said this. "If I have any messages to give from my own bed of sickness, it would be this: if you do not wish to be full of regrets, when you're obliged to lie still, work while you can. If you desire to make a sick bed as soft as it can be, do not stuff it with a mournful reflection that you wasted time while you were still in health and strength. Overcome the wicked one and fight for the Lord while you can. You'll never regret having done all that lies in you for our blessed Lord and master. Put as much as you can into every day, postpone no work until tomorrow and whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might". In other words, till you draw your last breath, be on your best behavior. Would you pray with me right now?