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Musings and Memories

“When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”

Doug Dezotell
Posted 6/11/22

Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be …

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Musings and Memories

“When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”

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Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked, and you clothed me, I was homeless, and you took me in.’”

Mother Teresa, of course, was quoting from the words of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 25.

The late evangelist Billy Graham said this concerning the end of life: “There comes a moment when we all must realize that life is short, and in the end the only thing that really counts is not how others see us, but how God sees us.”

Several years back, I had three dear friends that I’d been praying for who were coming face-to-face with the end of life.

Their doctors had given each of them just a short time to live.

All three of these men were bold, Spirit-filled, Bible-believing Christian men and preachers of the Gospel.

They were men who believed that the end of life here on Earth just meant that they would be going on to join their Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven. They had lived their lives with that goal in mind.

Now, each of these three men had lived a rough life before they met Jesus Christ and made Him their Savior.

They were all men deep in sin, leading immoral lives; they were heavy drinkers and drug abusers as well.

But their lives changed drastically when someone told them about the Gospel message and introduced them to Jesus Christ.

From that point on they lived their lives doing what Mother Teresa said was important, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, taking in the homeless…

And they did what Jesus told His disciples to do in the Great Commission: Preach, Teach, Baptize, and Make Disciples.

I had the privilege of watching God in action in these precious men’s lives over the years. And each of these men made a lasting impression on my life.

They were men who were students of the Bible; and men who lived their lives according to the teachings of the Bible.

They were men of prayer, who believed that God heard their prayers, and that God responded to their prayers.

These men all believed in miracles.

And they prayed for miracles

They believed that God heals men’s diseases.

But, even more, they believed, as Jesus taught them: “Heavenly Father…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

They were praying that God would heal them; but above all else, they were praying that God’s will be done in their lives.

One of these men had a cancerous tumor on his liver, and the doctors didn’t believe he was strong enough for them to operate.

One of the others was in a hospice care facility with what doctors believed was terminal heart and lung diseases.

The other one had terminal cancer of the liver.

But all of these men had spent their lives serving God and longing for the day when they would join Him in their heavenly home.

Pope Paul VI said, “Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”

Billy Graham said, “Someday your life will be over, no matter how much attention you give to your health. Will you look back with regret, because you nourished your body but starved your soul?”

One of my favorite old hymns was first published back in 1893, and it was written by James Milton Black. We have it in our hymnals as “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.”

Every time I reflect on this song, and every time I sing it, my mind is flooded with thoughts of Heaven, and being with Jesus, and reuniting with my loved ones who have gone on before me.

The lyrics go like this:

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more, and the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair; when the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore, and the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.

When the roll is called up yonder, when the roll is called up yonder,

when the roll is called up yonder, when the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise, and the glory of his resurrection share; when his chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies, and the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.

When the roll is called up yonder, when the roll is called up yonder, when the roll is called up yonder, when the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun, let us talk of all his wondrous love and care; then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done, and the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.

When the roll is called up yonder, when the roll is called up yonder, when the roll is called up yonder, when the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.

All three of my dear friends were friends of my wife’s as well, and those three Men of God have gone on to their Heavenly Reward.

My wife, Lynn, and I know that we’ll be joining our friends when the roll is called up yonder.

My prayer for you is that you will join us too.

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