“You know that’s weird, right? Odd, actually.” That is the response I often receive when I share about a particular piece of furniture I made a couple of years ago.

I was never formally mentored in woodworking or how to use the tools of the trade. It has been a trial-and-error thing; learn as you go. I’m not a great craftsman, but I am persistent and do not mind making mistakes I can correct. I have made some pretty nice pieces of furniture, but I am not naturally talented. Bottom line, I like woodworking as a hobby.

Another passion of mine is leadership—to influence others. Being a counselor, associate pastor, and executive director for a non-profit have been great outlets for this innate drive.  

So, I decided to combine the two loves… by building a coffin. My own coffin.

I made an 1800’s style coffin, sometimes referred to as a “toe pincher.” You can picture it, I’m sure. Imagine the wild west and the coffin sitting in the funeral parlor. 

The creative craftsman within me wanted to fancy it up a bit, but I resisted. I intentionally decided to make it boringly simple. No stain. No trim. Pine, not an expensive hardwood. Cost me $105.

Here’s the really creepy part. It is in my attic right now. Shrink-wrapped and waiting for THE DAY. I have instructed my youngins to be sure and give it a quick sanding so it smells nice. Further, they are to award the pallbearers a souvenir hammer to take with them after they hammer in the horseshoe nails one final time (pre-drilled, of course). My parting gift to them. 

As I said, there are two sides here. The largest camp believes that this is just weird, unsettling, and eccentric. The other is intrigued and inquires about how to build their own coffin.

A couple of takeaways.

First. Can we commit to living simply? Is it a part of your value system to live and die simply? When it is our time to die, can we honestly say that we generously shared our financial resources for the good of suffering humanity? (Fun Fact: the number one reason people don’t want to give to a charity—In AMERICA, of all places-- is fear of not having enough! Let that soak in). I want to live simply—in comfort-- but I want to strive to be intentionally generous while I am living. A coffin reminds me to do this. I hear we don’t get to take it with us….

Second, death does not have to creep us out. I don’t think anyone looks forward to the end of life while they are healthy, but if we clasp the hand of God via Jesus—it removes the dread of crossing over to the other side. That is why we celebrate Christmas and Easter. He wanted to let us know that we don’t have to be creeped out by funeral homes, or hospice, or hospitals—or caskets.

So, friends, when it is our time to PEACE OUT, let’s plan now to not have too much change left in our pockets…and daily put our hand in the hand of the God-man, Jesus. He’s crazy about you. Be sure to read what he has to say to you in the first few books of the New Testament. Read it with fresh eyes and an open mind. 

For extra credit, check out Proverbs 19:17 & 1 Thessalonians 4:13

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