A fruitful life is often talked about in Christian circles but a fruitful death rarely so. A fruitful life is a life which through its deep-rooted life in the Vine (Jesus Christ, Jn. 15) feeds and nurtures others. A fruitful death is likewise a death through which others find life and encouragement. We can think of many such examples, including Stephen (Acts 7) whose example challenged the apostle Paul, and Jesus Himself, the ultimate example of a fruitful death in dying in our place to give us life in Him for all eternity. You probably remember an earlier story I’d shared called “Lost a Patient, Gained a Brother.” To that young man God gave a fruitful death.
Just a few days ago I received an email from a friend continuing to serve with his family in PNG. My friend meets with the pastor and his wife (talked about in that story) weekly and what he wrote of their last meeting just goes to show God’s mercy and beautiful grace! Here’s what he wrote:
I was meeting with the pastor and his wife this afternoon as I usually do on Thursdays and they shared an exciting testimony that I thought you would enjoy hearing. They shared that when they went back home this weekend, they were so excited to see what God was doing. As you know, the boy that died, the pastor was able to share the Planim Pos (a chronological teaching of the bible in pidgin) with him and see his life change radically in the last week of his life. Well, the testimony of that boy has sparked a huge interest in the Planim Pos. Since the beginning of the year (2013), 5 bible studies have begun just in their haus lain (“family line”). But they said it’s not only their haus lain—it’s happening in a number of others too. They were so excited as they shared that young people, whom the elders had previously tried to convince to come to the teachings, are now saying they want to be taught and are requesting the teachers to come back from ministering elsewhere to teach them the word.
The pastor said that when they were home this weekend, they had people in their house all weekend who just couldn’t stop talking about what they were learning. They were trying to get him to come back and help teach but he feels a burden for the area he is now serving; so he will continue on with what he is doing. But he was so excited to see the interest of all these people who, until this time, have not been interested.
This young man’s short life in Christ is nonetheless potent for its brevity and the effects of his deathbed testimony and changed life continue to point others to truth and salvation. A fruitful death indeed!
“For whether we live, we live to the Lord; and whether we die, we die to the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” ~ Rom. 14:8-9