Tuesdays with Morrie [Book Review]

I’ve heard for years that I should read, Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. My wife and I picked it up at an estate sale recently and read it aloud.

Tuesdays with Morrie

The greatest takeaway from this touching account of the slow death of Mitch Albom’s friend, Morrie Schwartz, is that you’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die.

Over the course of many Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch visits with Morrie about “life’s greatest lesson,” discussing issues of life such as self-pity, regrets, death, family, emotions, aging, love, marriage, and forgiveness.

“Aging . . . is more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand that you’re going to die, and that you live better because of it.”

Everyone reads a book through the filter of his or her own world view. And although I can appreciate the truth and wisdom of each chapter as it relates to life, I couldn’t help but think the book overlooks the potential insight this life offers to the next life.

“Aging . . . is more than the negative that you’re going to die . . .”

Yeah, but you can’t sidestep the negative. It’s the most-certain event of anyone’s life.

I totally understand that the book isn’t about the afterlife. I get it. Nevertheless, it seems strange to read a book about a dying man sharing distilled wisdom about life and death with no discussion about life after death.

Tuesdays with Morrie does a great job highlighting how death brings clarity to life.

Okay, so you apply those lessons and have a great life.

Then what?

Question: Have you read the book? What did you think of it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Good Friday Gives Your Shame a Choice

Good Friday wasn’t so good for Judas. The guilt-ridden betrayer of Jesus hung himself and then fell headlong, spilling his innards. Hence, the residents later named the place where it happened, “Akeldema,” or “Field of Blood” (Acts 1:18-19).

Judas may have chosen this place to die for a specific reason.

Good Friday Gives Your Shame a Choice

(Photo: Monastery of St Onuphrius, traditional Akeldema, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Today, the peaceful Monastery of St. Onuphrius at Akeldema offers no clue to the fact that Judas killed himself at that site—nor does it reveal the Hinnom Valley’s sordid history.

  • Horrific atrocities occurred in the Hinnom Valley during the days of Judah’s kings (2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31).
  • In Jesus’ day, the city dump lay in this gorge. Some suggest that fires continually burned the trash, and so Jesus used the smoldering landfill of Gehenna as an illustration of hell’s eternal flames (Mark 9:43).

Because Jesus compared the Hinnom Valley to hell, one has to wonder if this is the reason Judas’s desperate regret led him to end his life in this ravine.

Like Judas, you have failed. But Judas’ shame doesn’t have to be yours.

Good Friday gives your shame a choice.

Peter shows us why.

Reconciling Pain and Prayer with God’s Love

Because God can stop our pain, we think He should.

So we pray. And pray. But nothing happens.

Reconciling Pain and Prayer with God's Love

(Photo by Jiri Hodan. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

That’s what occurred with Mary and Martha. They sent a message to Jesus that their brother Lazarus lay sick. But instead of immediately traveling to Bethany, Jesus stayed right where He was beyond the Jordan River. When He finally did arrive, Lazarus had been dead four days.

In other words, Jesus had taken His sweet time showing up.

From what happened next, I see several lessons to help us reconcile pain and prayer with God’s love.

The Kidron Valley— Your Burial Can Point to Your Faith

Do you know where you’ll be buried? The place where someone chooses to get buried is always significant.

  • A hometown family plot is common.
  • The place where one’s ashes are scattered or stored often holds a special association.
  • Even unknown soldiers who die in battle occasionally receive a prominent interment.
The Kidron Valley with olive trees and graves

(Photo: The Kidron Valley with olives trees and graves. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But in Israel, a burial place often exposed one’s faith. The tombs beside the Kidron Valley bear witness to this truth.

Each one offers a connection to resurrection.

Tomorrow, Today, and the Priorities of Someday

Years ago I heard about an odd work of modern art. The artist attached a chair to a loaded shotgun—with the barrel pointing at the chair. The gun had a timer set to discharge at some undetermined point within the next 100 years.

Tomorrow, Today, and the Priorities of Someday

(Photo: iofoto, via Vivozoom)

Believe it or not, droves of thrill-seekers viewed the exhibit by sitting in the chair and staring point-blank range into the gun barrel for sixty seconds. They knew the gun could fire at any moment, but they wanted a thrilling minute in the chair.

(What I would have given to sneak up and poke them in the ribs and yell, “BOOM!”)

Most of us would never dream of taking such a foolish gamble. And yet, how often will we toy with the future by counting on a future that may never happen?

Hebron—the Cave of Machpelah Stands as a Testimony of Faith

Towering like a fortress over the shoddy buildings that surround it, the ancient structure in Hebron covers a site sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Machpelah in Hebron

(Photo: The building that covers the “Cave of the Patriarchs” at Machpelah in Hebron. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In elevation, Hebron stands taller than even Jerusalem.

And other than the Temple Mount itself, no other place remains as revered to peoples whose hopes and faiths could not be more diverse.

Few other places offer such a powerful lesson in faith for those of us still drawing a breath.

Staring Death in the Faith

Sometimes you hear crazy stuff at funerals. I heard of one set of parents who tragically lost a child, and the minister told them not to weep—but to rejoice in faith. After all, their son was in heaven.

It sounds so right—so spiritual. But it was only half right. Therefore, half wrong.

Staring death in the faith.

(Photo: by Ralf Lotys, Sicherlich, CC-BY-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Bible reveals that when someone dies, the most natural and right thing to do—even in a life of great faith—is to weep. After Abraham’s wife died, we read:

Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.—Genesis 23:2

Even Jesus wept at the results of physical death (John 11:35). So, that makes it okay for us too.

Why is weeping right, even if our loved one is in a “better place”?