Next year is my 20 year high school reunion. As such, the “community organizers” among my high school classmates have already began planning the big event. They have already had a preliminary meeting. And they created a Facebook group. On this page they have your standard questions. What would you like to do? Where are you now? Who have we failed to invite to the group? But one post caught me by surprise. Who has died? I am 37 years old, do we really need a post about who has died? Is there really that many of my former classmates that are no longer with us? Regretfully the answer is yes. I have watched the list grow every week. (I didn’t have a very big class and we are already approaching double digits). This brought back memories of those that died before we even graduated. Then, when Moore passed away this past week, my thoughts continued to go back to those who are shot down in the prime of life.
James wrote, “ yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:14).” For those like my aunt who passed at the age of 77, they often tell me how brief the years really are. But, still shock doesn’t set in like it does when one that is 20 passes from this life. It is even more devastating when that person is only 169 days old. Their lives truly are vapors in the wind. They graced us with their lives for just a short period of time and then they are gone.
Solomon actually said that it is good for us to go to the house of mourning because it reminds us of the brevity of life. It reminds us that we really aren’t here for that long. And when a person 169 days old dies; when a person fresh out of high school dies, it really does remind us that we don’t have forever in this world. Of course, Solomon didn’t teach this just so that you and I can be reminded that one day we too will die. Solomon wrote this so that we might be prepared. Here are three lessons I am reminded of this week.
1. Live each day like it is your last. Often times when people begin thinking of the brevity of life they write out a bucket list. A list of things that they would like to do before they “kick the bucket.” Usually they include things like see Europe. Visit all 50 states. Go skydiving. Drive a really fast car. Or something to that affect. I am not saying that such things cannot be fun. I am not saying that a person shouldn’t do those things (just don’t expect me to jump out of an airplane with you). What I can tell you is that we need to be mindful that our living needs to be with the end in mind. If you die, what will your regrets be? Would you regret not telling your wife that you love her one last time? Would you regret not patching things up with your brother or sister? Would you regret not teaching your children the way of God? Then be certain that you do those things before it is too late. Make certain that our spouse knows you love him/her. Do all you can to bring peace to your broken relationships. Speak to your lost children. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by, because tomorrow may not be here.
2. Live each day like it is your first. How many first time experiences do you remember. Do you remember your first pizza? Do you remember your first love? Do you remember the first time you held your son/daughter? Those “first” time experiences are often engrained in us. We experience them to the utmost. They fill us with joy and jubilation. Solomon told us to enjoy life while we can, because there is a day coming when we won’t enjoy them anymore.
3. Live each day like it is a preparing ground. That is, live each day like you are preparing for what is to come after this life. This world is not our final home. As such this world is a training ground. Think of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. For 40 years God prepared Israel to enter into the land of promise. We often say that only those that were 20 years and younger at the beginning of this journey were permitted to enter in. That is not entirely true. There were many who were of that age that died in the wilderness. They died because they weren’t worthy of entering into God’s rest. This world is our training ground. God is testing us. So, the next time you are tempted, live each day as a test. Based upon your actions, when God weighs you, will he find you wanting? Or, will he find you choice?
Grinnell church of Christ
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Shot Down in the Prime of Life
Volume 6 Issue 46