I wish I had…

            I find myself reminiscing as I prepare to attend his funeral.

            I was a young boy of thirteen or fourteen years when we first met.  My family had just moved to Walker County and he offered me work.  He was a cattle farmer and he bailed hay on shares for other farmers.  He always used teenage boys to work the hay fields which worked out well for him and the boys.

            Jimmy Windham was a small built man and throw back to earlier years.  As I think back to those hay fields I can still smell the cherry blend tobacco from his pipe.  Four of us boys worked together for a number of years as we hauled the hay from the fields to the barns.  We learned more than the necessity of good hay, we each learned the necessity of good work ethics. 

            As is true in many situations we grew up and unfortunately grew apart.  For years we have lived several hundred miles apart with only the occasional meeting.  Just a few months back I was preaching in a congregation back home and saw Jimmy.  The one time energetic, jovial man was now resigned to a wheel chair and battling failing health.  We engaged in a lengthy conversation wherein we relived some of the “good ole days”.  I could close my eyes, as he spoke, and see the man of yesteryear.  But my eyes opened revealed the cruelty and truth of the present time.  That was the last time we would speak.

            I find myself, in preparing for Jimmy’s funeral, wishing I had stayed closer and visited more.  But, those opportunities have been lost. 

            Attending funerals are therapeutic for us.  We offer comfort, strength and hope to those left behind and we also are reminded of our mortality.  The Hebrews writer reminds us that everyone has an appointment with death.  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:27-28; KJV). 

            Throughout life there may be many things of which we wished we had done.  When we stand before the judgment seat of God let us not look back and wish we had obeyed God.  The apostle Paul warned about the judgment and the things that we do in this life.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (II Corinthians 5:10; KJV).  God gives two guarantees in our lives: we are going to die and He is going to judge us. 

            On the Day of Judgment do not stand before God and wish you had obeyed Him but rather know that you obeyed God (Matthew 7:21; I John 2:3).