In the book of Luke chapter twelve, Jesus is talking to a massive crowd. So large, in fact, that they were “stepping on each other” (v.1). During this critical moment, Jesus could have taught on all sorts of topics, but one of those He chose was about our lifespan. He said to these thousands of people that they always worry about today and they work for this life rather than eternity and such pursuits are meaningless. Specifically, Jesus said, “…‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” (vv. 20-21)
Everyone knows we are not promised another second; and yet, nearly all of us act, talk, and live as if we have decades. Some even live as if the cure for death is around the corner. News, emails, and phone calls, constantly remind us no one gets out of here alive. It happens to the very young, the very old, and all ages in-between. Because of this and our desire to ignore truth, we are exceptional at looking the other way. Sure, we cringe for a second or so, but then turn our minds to “happy, happy, joy, joy”. We hear, see, and sometimes smell death as it surrounds us and choose to ignore its warning. The warning is littered throughout scripture that it is appointed once for a man to die, then the judgment (Heb. 9:27). If it happens to me today, the question should not be, “Why him?” the question should be, “Why not him?” We all know our days are numbered. So why are we so surprised when that fateful day arrives?
Because we are experts at ignoring reality and prefer to become numb to the truth of God’s counsel, God and life caution us repeatedly. I don’t know about you, but I want to read those tough news stories, listen carefully to those in pain dealing with a loved one’s death, and then focus on my personal judgment, answering the biblical question, “Have I worked out my salvation with fear and trepidation?” (Phil. 2:12)
We all like to believe we are at the starting line and the judge is getting ready to yell, “Ready…Set…Go!” But the truth of the matter is, he may be saying, “Ready…Set…Die, and tonight you shall face your Judge.” That is not a dark or morbid thought as much as it is reality. As an apologist, my job is to remind others of truth; I, therefore, must live the same way.
If the Apostle Paul were alive today, I believe he would use our vernacular and say something such as this, “Are you paying attention to what I am telling you? Are you listening to all my warnings? Yes, you are saved by grace, but you were created to live as Christ did…holy, righteous, God honoring. How can you not see you are allowed to live so that your life honors Him, and still you live as the world does, relying on the abundance of God’s grace? C-mon, man, wake up!” (Rom. 6:1 & Eph. 2:10, And others) And James, the brother of Christ spoke in a manner that left no wiggle room (we love gray areas so we can wiggle and jiggle inside of it, playing with sin as a dog does a chew toy), “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith, but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” (James 2:14).
Tim McGraw sings a song, Live Like You Were Dying. I love it, but unfortunately, he misses the mark. Yes, live life to its fullest, but a life that does not glorify Christ is a life wasted on narcissistic and empty pursuits. There’s beauty in a full life, but a flickering flame is quickly forgotten.
“Someday I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dying”…that day is today…we are all in various stages of death. Now, how will you answer McGraw’s questions,
“What did you do with it?”
“What could you do with it?”
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.”
(Luke 12:31, Selah…seriously, I am begging you to stop and consider this verse)