Here is the news flash for today: Everyone born prior to 1880 has died. Everyone!*
The implication of this news item (just in case it flew over your head) is that you will die, too – eventually.
So, what are we doing here? I mean, here. On planet earth.
- Are we trying to extend our life span?
- And to what end?
- Do we we live in denial, pretending we’re going to live forever?
- Are we clinging tenaciously to this rock of a planet, when in reality it is made of paper mache?
Approximately thirty-five years ago I spoke at two funerals within twenty-four hours of each other. One was for a nineteen-year-old girl who was killed in a car wreck. The other was for an eighty-four-year old man who died quietly in his sleep after an extended illness. I remember asking myself afterward, “Which of the two lived longer?” Using a calendar to measure them, the man lived over four times longer than the girl. But when you place the length of their lives alongside the measuring tape of eternity, neither of them lived very long. The difference between them is miniscule. Our time on earth lasts as long as the fog of an exhaled breath on a cold winter day. By the time it is seen, it is gone.
We expend a tremendous amount of energy, both physically and financially, in an effort to add a few months or years to our life, or to extend the life of a loved one. Why?
Don’t take me wrong. I’m not suicidal. Nor am I against living a healthy lifestyle. And I’m not opposed to the medical establishment’s efforts to eradicate and control diseases. I truly love life and enjoy getting up each day to face whatever it brings me. I believe that every life is precious. But I’m not so attached to life here that I don’t want to leave it. I actually look forward to The Crossing Over.
When the apostle Paul was confronted with the question of whether he wanted to live or die, he answered it this way, “If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile.” (Philippians 1, The Message). My sentiments exactly!
We measure time by seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years. By comparison, God doesn’t measure time because he lives in a dimension where time does not exist. When contemplating this nature of God, Moses wrote, “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by.” Then Moses adds this commentary, “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” So his conclusion is a plea to God, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90).
Even though it’s a brief stop on our journey through eternity, the time we have on earth is the most significant stop we will make because how we live while we are here has a direct influence on where our final destination lies. Which returns me to my original question: What are we doing here? Those of you who know me or who follow my blog know that I always try to boil things down to their simplest form, and so here is my answer to the question of what are we to be doing here: Just be faithful. Because if you are, God will use you where he needs to use you, whether you know it or not. Don’t sweat the wondering of “But am I….?” If you are being faithful, then God is using you exactly the way he wants to, and thus you are completely within God’s plan for your life.
*(Students of Old Testament history will beg to differ, citing Elijah and Moses as examples of people that left earth without dying. I acknowlege those exceptions.)