Lessons from the Oldest Living Person

by Bryant Evans on December 5, 2012

Bessie Cooper died yesterday in Georgia. She was officially the world’s oldest living person. Her son reported that she had her hair done earlier in  the day as if she was preparing to go. She had become something of a celebrity as she was the first Georgian to ever old a world record.

I don’t know Mrs. Cooper, but she reminds me of some lessons from the Good Book.

We All Have An Appointment to Keep

I suspect she wondered why she was still alive. A fine lady I know in her mid-90’s often asks the question, “Why am I still here?” I don’t know. She brings comfort to others, encourages others, shows love to others, etc. But despite all that she, like us has an appointment to keep. Mrs. Cooper’s appointment came after 116 years.

Hebrews 9:27 reminds, “it is appointed unto man to die once and after this comes the judgment.” It is good to remember that we all have a similar appointed which we cannot avoid. Although we may live to a great age, we still cross that river.

Things Do Not Matter

According to the report, Mrs. Cooper died in a nursing home with her family present. I’m sure there were important items with great sentimental value around her room. Her financial status was not disclosed but she does not appear to have been impoverished. Nevertheless, all those mementos and even the presence of her family took second place and were not of much importance as she drew her last breath. Even the wealthiest among us find limited comfort in their possessions.

Some of God’s great people were wealthy. Job learned how quickly material items can perish (Job 1:13-22; Job 2:7-8). Abraham was a man of wealth as were kings David and Solomon. Nevertheless, they passed this life and took no possessions with them. Job said it best,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return” (Job 1:21).

While writing to Timothy, Paul said the same thing,

” But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” ( 1 Timothy 6-7).

Store up the good treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21; Mark 10:21) and your blessings will be great.

Say the Important Things Now – Don’t Wait

Although Mrs. Cooper was very old, there was no expectation of her passing so suddenly. Her day had been typical until she suddenly began having breathing problems and then passed. If her family is like most, I am sure there were things they wished they could have said to her. Such a lesson is not unique to the Coopers. All of us have stood at the grave and thought of things we wished we had said. How sad that we repeat the same mistake over and over.

Set your goal today to speak a good word to someone who love. Don’t let another moment pass with unspoken thoughts, compliments and praise. Speak them now and avoid regrets tomorrow.

Our thoughts are with the Coopers in their difficult time but we are thankful for the lessons she reminds us of today.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.
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