Walking by Faith: A Study of the Life of Abraham,

How to Die With a Smile on Your Face

By Dr. Robert Jeffress

A bestselling book titled DIE BROKE offers some unique advice on finances and death. This book suggests that a person spends all he can while alive and dies with as small of an estate as possible. In fact, the author says, the last check you should write should be to the funeral director—and it should bounce! Why not die with no dollars in the bank and your VISA card charged to the max? Isn’t that the American dream? Not surprisingly, such an idea is gaining popularity.

One popular writer noted that instead of dying broke, many people are dying “broken.” For many senior adults, what was supposed to be the golden years of their lives have become tarnished. Instead of being optimistic, they become increasingly pessimistic about everything: their family, friends, and church. Instead of being hopeful about the future, they become fatalistic. “Lord, I have served my time. Why don’t you just take me home.” Their final years of life are marked by loneliness, sickness, purposelessness, and bitterness.   

Do you know people like that? I certainly do, and I want to run as far as I can from them. But more importantly, I do not want to end up like them.

Instead, I want to live and die like Abraham. Genesis 25 describes the very keys to being satisfied with life. He is a living illustration of the faith that God wants us to have in our life. Remember Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

The first time we meet Abraham, he is 60 years old, rich and comfortable, living in his home country of Ur. But God commanded Abraham to leave everything and everyone familiar to travel to a distant land. Abraham listened and obeyed and, for the next one hundred years, followed God.

Not only is Abraham a model of faith, but as F.B. Meyer points out, Abraham is a model of every quality God wants to develop in our lives that is a result of faith.

1. Abraham’s Faith: Growing (2 Peter 1:5)

When you become a Christian, you receive the Holy Spirit of God, who gives you everything you need to live a godly life. You don’t need another experience with the Holy Spirit or some deeper knowledge. You have it all.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you can sit back, turn on the auto-pilot, and coast. If you are going to experience the life God wants for you, you will have to expend some effort. He has done His part, and it is time for you to do your part.

People will occasionally give me a tie as a gift. But for that gift to benefit me, I have to do something—take it out of the box, wrap it around my neck, tie the knot, and so on. Otherwise, it remains a gift unused. God has given us the supernatural power of His Holy Spirit. But we must expend effort to utilize His gift in our life.  

As you examine the life of Abraham, you find that his life exhibited all of these qualities: Eight Marks of Spiritual Maturity  (2 Peter 1:5-7)

  • Faith
  • Moral Excellence
  • Knowledge
  • Self Control
  • Perseverance
  • Godliness
  • Brotherly Kindness
  • Love

2. Abraham’s Final Years: Bullish (Genesis 25:1-6)

Genesis 25:1 says, “Now Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah.” We are in the dark about this woman’s background or home. However, we can be sure that she was not an unbelieving Canaanite, as evidenced by Abraham’s instructions regarding selecting a bride for his son Isaac in Genesis 24.

The point here is that Abraham refused to spend the final years of his life alone. He wanted—he needed—a companion. To marry another woman in no way dishonored the memory of Sarah. 

You, like Abraham, may have lost a faithful companion in death. There is no way for us who have never experienced that to imagine the incredible and relentless loneliness you feel—day in and day out. If you are in that situation and choose never to remarry again, that is certainly an acceptable choice. And God will take care of your needs in His way and in His time.

But don’t allow unrealistic expectations or unwarranted criticism to keep you from marrying again. What do I mean by unrealistic expectations? I mean expecting someone else to fill the void left by your mate. We don’t know much about Keturah, but it would be impossible for her and Abraham to share the same experiences in life that bonded Sarah and Abraham together. It would be a different type of relationship. And secondly, don’t allow unwarranted criticism from others to keep you from dating and marrying again if you are widowed. Sometimes God’s people, who should have the most compassion, can be the cruelest.

Remember, in Genesis 17:4, God promised Abraham would be the father of MANY nations, not just Israel. And having children by Keturah was a way of fulfilling that promise. Not only were Abraham’s final years marked by a new wife and a new family, but by a growing generosity.

Have you ever noticed how many people become more and more conservative with their money as they grow older? Yet, Abraham was never that way with his money. He was a very wealthy man—that Hebrew idiom was heavy. And yet he understood that his possessions were not owned but simply on loan from God. And that is why he found it easy to tithe to Melchizedek, the priest, to give back to the king of Sodom the riches he had gained and to give the choicest land to his nephew Lot. And in verse 5, making a generous provision to Isaac as well.

Will you notice that Abraham made these gifts while he was alive? I hope you have a will that clearly spells out what you want to be done with your assets when you die. Yes, you should provide for your family 1 Timothy 5:8.

3. Abraham’s Departure: Satisfied

I want you to think about the phrase “satisfied with life.” A synonym for “satisfied” might be “contented.” To die “satisfied with life,” you must be:

  1. Satisfied with Your Past
  2. Satisfied with Your Children
  3. Satisfied with Your Future

Are you, like Abraham, willing to say no to the riches, security, and approval of others to enjoy rewards one day that will never fade away? Abraham had faith to let go of the temporal to gain that which was eternal. His life was rooted in the belief that God exists and is a reward for those seeking Him.


Full Passage: Genesis 25:1-11