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.

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 (; ). 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” ().

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” ( ).

Store up the good treasures in heaven (; ) 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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27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, (ESV)

13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (ESV)

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. (ESV)

21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (ESV)

6:1 Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.

Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you. (ESV)

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (ESV)

21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (ESV)

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