June 14, 2011
If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:8-9
While looking for stories for the Daily Devotions, my eye was caught by the title of an article located on another web page.
The title said, "Man Dies All By Himself."
Was the story about a forgotten movie star, or some homeless individual, or a hiker who had taken a climb beyond his level of expertise? Maybe this was the story of a hoarder who had been crushed by a falling pile of beloved possessions. It was the kind of title I had to investigate.
Clicking on the link produced a large picture of a hollow-cheeked old man. Above his head, in very large letters were the words "Man Dies All By Himself." There was no article, nothing to explain the picture.
Then it clicked. The man who had died all by himself was Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the man who had helped terminate the lives of over 130 people -- people who had incurable and painful diseases, who had no hope, no value, nothing to keep them linked to this world.
At least that's what Kevorkian said. It's what many others believe.
Recently, a past executive director of Lutheran Hour Ministries went home to his Lord. Rodger Hebermehl was his name. Many of you knew him. Those who didn't missed the acquaintance of a special man, a gentle, Christian man, who loved his Lord and had a tremendous longing for the lost souls of humanity.
Over the last few years Rodger had suffered from an illness that he knew would end his life. Gradually the things he could do were diminished. Did Rodger say there was no hope, that he had no value or purpose, nothing to keep him here?
If you think that, you don't know Rodger. Allow me to share that when Rodger no longer could get around by himself, when limitations were many and opportunities few, he prayed he might share the Savior's story with a few more unbelievers. He prayed he might be used by the Lord to let them know the transforming power of the Christ. He prayed the Holy Spirit might use him to bring a dozen people to faith.
May I tell you one other thing about Rodger? Rodger did not die all by himself. Yes, he had his loving wife Cassandra at his side and, yes, there had been many others with him during those last days.
But when Rodger left this life he did so in the company of Jesus who had redeemed him -- the Savior he had considered it an honor to serve. No, Rodger did not die alone.
Because of Jesus, no Christian man or woman ever dies ... alone.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I give thanks for the Rodger Hebermehls of this world. By that I mean those who have clearly seen the Savior's sacrifice and wish to do all they can to make sure the whole world knows the wonders of Your love. May I, by Your grace, live in that love until the time comes when I am taken home. This I ask in the Name of Jesus. Amen.
POSTSCRIPT: I don't know if Rodger's wish to touch people with the Savior's story reached everyone he wished when he was alive. But I think both the Lord and Rodger would be pleased if you shared this devotion with others who haven't yet acknowledged Jesus as Savior. Thank you.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries