Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A Good Life Makes A Good Death More Likely

In September of 1979, I spoke at a conference in the Scottish highlands. There I met a man by the name of T.S. Mooney. He was from Ulster and was well known as a Christian layman in the Presbyterian Church. He befriended me, and I enjoyed his company….He was in his seventies…

He was the founder and leader of a boys' Bible class called Crusaders, a weekly duty he fulfilled for fifty years. His mission statement was clear. He wanted every boy that came to class to have: A Bible in his hand, A Savior in his heart, and A Purpose in his life. Many boys had come to faith in Christ through the years as a result of his ministry, and not on account of T.S.'s athletic ability or dress sense or knowledge of contemporary music. He was devoid of all of that.

When I stayed as his guest for the week during which I spoke, I was introduced to what he referred to as his "rogues' gallery." His sitting room had large windows, extremely high ceilings, and a central fireplace he kept stocked with coal. The furniture was plain and comfortable, and a large table over by the window was stacked with books and correspondence. And everywhere, pictures of his "rogues." Some were by this time successful surgeons. It had been one of "his boys" who had performed open-heart surgery on T.S. some years before. Others were schoolteachers, others in banking and commerce, a significant number in pastoral ministry, and all of them regularly in his prayers. Prior to my visit and certainly afterward, he had written to me and never failed to remind me that he remembered me "regularly at the best place."…

T.S. lived alone and had a housekeeper who came in regularly to take care of his domestic affairs. When she arrived on this particular morning, she was not met by the normal cheery smile and bright eyes. She found T.S. sprawled across his bed. He was fully dressed and had obviously begun his day as usual, because when others were called to help and they moved his body, they discovered that he had fallen on top of his prayer list. He had gone to heaven praying for his "rogues." He could never have died that way had he not lived in such discipline. It is a matter of great concern to me that the varied opportunities of my life can be an excuse for neglecting the kind of routine that is clearly necessary for the maintenance of a meaningful walk with God. (Alistair Begg, Made For His Pleasure [Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1996], 55-7)

Update On 10/21/15: You can read more about the life of T.S. Mooney here.


  1. I can barely imagine people in our culture thinking about their own deaths.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Jason. :-)