For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 1 Timothy 6:7
At the age of 13, Billy Standley was a ranch hand and a rodeo rider.
Things changed a lot for Standley over the years. His daughter describes him as "gruff, but his heart was as big as all outdoors." Standley's three other children agree that he loved them and raised them as well as anyone could.
That being said, when Standley died a few weeks ago, his children were more than ready to help him fulfill his final request: to be buried riding his 1967 Harley Davidson Electra Glide motorcycle. Understand, this was not a last-minute quirk or flight of fancy. Standley had been planning his departure for more than 18 years. The process began when he bought three extra grave plots next to his deceased wife.
The plan continued with his sons fashioning his see-through casket of steel-reinforced Plexiglas. When Standley ultimately succumbed to lung cancer, the services of five funeral directors were employed to make sure that, in the years to come, Standley would remain astride his beloved chopper.
Standley is not alone in his desire to meet his Maker in style.
The pharaohs of Egypt built the pyramids for the same reason. Other rich and powerful personages throughout history have done the same. In our own age, we see people buying cemetery plots so they can have a good view when they're gone, and others purchase caskets with inner-spring mattresses, so they can be comfortable in the afterlife.
People can do what they want and be buried any way they wish, but Scripture is clear: we brought nothing into the world and we can't take anything out.
At the moment when there are no more days on our personal calendars, on that day when we breathe our last, there is only one thing which is going to have any serious and lasting value: did we have faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal Savior from sin?
If we trusted in the Christ as our Redeemer, then, by His merit, the joys of heaven will be eternally ours. On the other hand, without the cleansing blood of the Lord, we will remain in our sins and everlasting suffering will be our lot.
I can only hope that amongst the many things Standley did to plan for his worldly departure, Jesus was high on his list. Of course, neither I, nor you, nor anybody can do anything to change where Standley has ended up.
But we can do our best to make sure that everybody else we know enters heaven because they have been given faith in the Christ.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for Your plan which has, through Jesus' sacrifice, given me life eternal. Now, please use me to encourage others to have faith in Jesus who makes His people really ready for their earthly ending. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries