And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
~ Luke 23:42 - 43
I spent a few hours with a man this afternoon who becomes anxious at the thought of dying. "It's not that I don't think I will go to heaven," he shared. "It's that I don't know if I have done enough, and that's what scares me to death."
Oh, the thought of the "deeds," of our life!
He is not the first person I have encountered who has wondered whether he has "done enough," to enter into heaven. This is nothing new. For centuries humanity has asked this question and struggled to make lists of things that might help each person enter into heaven.
Redirecting him, we opened his Bible and we read the crucifixion story, focusing on the man who hung next to Jesus as they were dying. The man asks of Jesus, "Remember me when you come into Your kingdom."
Jesus responds, "Surely today you will be with me in paradise."
For most of us, we can spend hours thinking of things that we "should have done," when looking back at life-choices and situations. For any of us, there might be things that cause us to become anxious like this man. Closing our eyes, I invited him to ask, "Remember me when I come into Your kingdom."
As we continued to repeat this, his anxiety seemed to fade, and his breathing became much calmer.
There are simply those moments in ministry when you realize that God is speaking, and we are part of the conversation.
The power of simply asking God to "remember me," overcomes the moments when we find that we struggle with the "should have's."
"Remember me when I come into Your kingdom!"
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.