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  • Writer's pictureDr. Bascom Ratliff

Harry’s unfinished business

Matters of Faith

By Dr. Bascom Ratliff

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

As Harry was having his second cup of coffee, his wife popped in the kitchen and reminded him that he had a meeting later that morning at church.

What meeting, Harry asked?

His wife replied, “Oh, I forgot you received a call yesterday about an important meeting at church today at 11 o’clock”.

“Okay”, Harry replied, as he thought about what the meeting could possibly be about. He knew it must be important. But he had not been feeling well and actually entertained the thought of just skipping the meeting altogether.

However, being a good Christian Harry did go to the meeting. When he arrived, it appeared he was really early. He was the only one there. Being early, he decided the sit in the sanctuary and catch up on his praying. Lately, he had made an effort to be more prayerful, especially when they had a few minutes to kill.

As he was praying, he felt a presence and turned around to find someone sitting in the pew next to him. It was a young man dressed in slacks and a white shirt. The man was smiling at him, and Harry said hello and asked if he was there for the meeting. The young man replied that he he was there for a meeting with Harry to talk about Harry’s prayers and unfinished business.

“What unfinished business?” queried Harry.

Jimmy replied, “Two weeks ago you were praying and made a list of things you wanted to get done this month. You remember that list”?

“Vaguely”, replied Harry.

“Well, let’s go over your list Harry and see how you’ve done”.

Reluctantly, Harry went to his day planner and found his notes from three weeks ago. “I have it here”, Harry said.

“Okay. Take a look at your list and see how well you’ve done”.

After reviewing his list, Harry admitted that he had not done very well.

Jimmy touched Harry’s hand to get his attention. He looked Harry in the eye and bluntly told him that his window for completing items on his list of unfinished business was drawing to a close.

“Harry, the Lord will soon be calling you home and if you have business that needs completed, you need to do it now. Continuing to put things off is not getting the job done."

Harry, puzzled, asked, “What you mean the Lord to be calling me home?"

"Just that," Jimmy replied. "God has prepared a home for you in heaven and will soon be calling for you."

“Wow! That’s kinda spooky,” replied Harry. “Who are you and how do you know what God is planning”.

"Well, Jimmy replied, “I’ve been sent by our Lord to encourage you to get started on those important tasks that you have delayed doing.”

“Okay”, Harry replied. “Are you talking about changing the oil in my car, replacing the screen in the kitchen, or staining the deck?"

“No Harry. I’m talking about making amends with your brother, who you haven’t talked to for the past three years. I'm talking about keeping your promise to visit your mom. And I’m talking about your plan to change your will, your gift to the church’s food pantry, and your making peace with your neighbor. These are the kinds of things that God is interested in your finishing up before you are called home.”

"Okay Jimmy, you have my attention," Harry said. "I guess I need to dust off my list and add a few items. If you could let God know that I hear you loud and clear. And Jimmy, thanks for your visit."


The message today is about our taking a hard look at our unfinished business. Have we made promises of God or to others and failed to keep those promises? Are there things left for us to do in our service to Jesus? Have we made promises or commitments that remain incomplete? What do we need to do to better serve God and others?

As the preceding story shows, the time to begin is now. We may not know what our future holds, but we do know God desires that we serve a risen Christ without the delays and excuses that often plague us. 

Do you find yourself longing for genuine love and companionship that comes only from God? If you’re ready to seek God’s love, I invite you to come and worship with us. We are fueled by God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love.

Please accept our invitation to a morning of wonderful music and great fellowship. And, of course, hot coffee and cookies.   


We will worship at the Fontana United Methodist Church during June 2024.

We will worship at the Parker UMC during July 2024.

We will worship at the Beagle UMC during August 2024.

All Sunday services are at 10 a.m.

We serve communion on the first Sunday of the month. 

All are welcome in God’s House.  

Dr. Bascom Ratliff, 913-710-5748

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

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