Oh Death… Where is Thy Sting?
If I have learned nothing else working with senior adults, I have learned this. God is true to His Word. Unless Christ returns, you will die. I have sat with people at their death bed. I have performed and attended numerous funerals. I have been with families in times of sadness.
But God also gave us some great news. Paul said this in his letter to the Philippians “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Wow! It is a win-win. He followed up this verse by explaining if we do live, then we must live for Christ and be fruitful.
At my age, I watch all the channels which advertise products and services for older adults. Many of the commercials that come on are warnings about impending heart attacks or losing your memory or cancer issues. They talk about how they can help you “save your life,” to which I scream at the top of my lungs “NO!” This is a multi-BILLION dollar industry, yet it cannot save your life. You might live longer and linger in this world, but Satan’s old lie of “Surely you will not die…” is something that people still pursue today. Jesus told us in Matt. 16:26-27 (NASB, emphasis mine) “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”
Tim McGraw‘s song (some say his best) is “Live Like You Were Dying” is really good advice and should serve as a wakeup call, because you are. In the book of Hebrews we are told “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27, NASB). The question becomes “Are you ready to die?” How can you live fully if death is something you can’t face? You spend all your energy trying to avoid something that you can’t stop. It is like driving west to stay in the sunshine and avoid the darkness. Guess what? Eventually you will either run out of gas or drive into the ocean. Wouldn’t it be wiser to be prepared for the darkness and have an alternative light source?
God told us in Genesis and Paul repeated the concept in Romans that “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23, NASB). Even Jesus told us that “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” We are forgiven, but the consequences are still upon us. We will die an earthly death, but we can live eternal.
One of my favorite quotes is C.S. Lewis from The Weight of Glory: “You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” In other words, everyone will spend eternity somewhere. You will either be in heaven with God or in the hell He created for those who rebel against Him by serving themselves.
As Joshua said “Choose this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” How then shall we live? The baby Jesus was born to die on our behalf. We should live on His.