“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29, ESV)
I’ve read the newspaper with interest since I was a young boy growing up in Oklahoma City. And in my reading I would even take note of the Obituary Section and see the ages of those who had recently passed.
Looking at the ages of those who had passed … seeing 70 or 80 … a few 90’s and even fewer 100’s … I would think those age marks were a long way off for me. But as we all know, time flies by like the pages of a book caught by the wind lying on a bench!
A number of good people that I have known have passed in the last couple of years and it can’t help but cause one to give at least a ‘pause’ to our own life! I read a quote that I do not know who to attribute it to, but here it is “Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die!”
Isn’t that pretty much the truth! You see, we grow attached to this ole world of ours … to our families … friends … possessions … things … to life as we know it! And therein is the problem. The inspired writer James speaks in a way that is intended to capture our attention in James 4:13-15, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ … 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. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
I want to quote from a source that I don’t often quote from, but it captures the meaning of this passage in a way that is hard to miss. “And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, ‘Today — at the latest, tomorrow — we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.’ You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, ‘If the Master wills it and we are still alive, we’ll do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15, The Message)
Are we getting the message he is sending to our heart? Life at best is short! And we are living on borrowed time. These bodies of ours don’t belong to us! Like leasing a vehicle, one day we have to turn it in … but unlike the lease of a vehicle where the turn in date is specified … only the Lord knows when it’s our turn to pass from life to death!
God alone holds the title to your life and to mine! Not you … not me … not anyone else!
Sobering thoughts aren’t they? I was talking with a very dear friend recently about these very thoughts … noting those we’ve known and loved who have left this world … noting various personalities in the entertainment and sports world … whose lives have ended … and they were our age!!
But a word of caution must be given … even to the young … you have no guarantee you will live to be old! Not one of us has this kind of guarantee!
It was King David who wrote so pointedly, “My times are in Your hands” (Psalm 31:15). What each of us must come to grips with is that our lives don’t really belong to us and that we should be making the most with our lives to honor Him who they do belong too!
It would be Job who came to the realization through much affliction and actually talking with God that there is just so much that we don’t know that God does know! Read these words slowly and carefully, “Man’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” (Job 14:5)
We need to be careful … very careful … how we’re using our days because we only have so many So like the message the prophet Isaiah delivered to King Hezekiah, “… set your house in order … (2 Kings 20:1)!
Nothing wrong with money … with the niceties of life … but my friends, we must ask ourselves honestly and objectively … are we clinging too close to these to the neglect of the more important things of God? What are we teaching our kids and grandkids?
- Have I “set my house in order”?
- Have I made peace with those I’ve been at odds with?
- Have I told my loved ones … my friends … my brethren … how much I love them?
Very simply … have I been laying up for myself “treasures in heaven”?
At least two know the answer to the last question: God and self! We may be able to fool ourselves … but not God! What we must do as the old hymn exclaims, “Oh, prepare to meet thy God!”
When it comes my turn to leave this world, will I be ready … really ready?
Bill Fairchild, Jr