James 4:13-14 – 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.
THEME OF THE DAY: TWO REALITIES OF LIFE IN THIS WORLD. I stood over her bed as she laid there with her eyes closed. Hospice Care was in place. In all likelihood she will die in a week. I talked to her on the phone not long ago while she was in the hospital taking chemotherapy. The cancer was winning she was dying and knew it. On the phone, her conversation was not about her but her family. She was a believer burdened for her family to know the Lord. That is what happens in the hearts of God’s children. They yearn for their unsaved family members to come to Him. And this is greatly intensified when we are face-to-face with the appointment we each will keep – death. As I leaned over and drew near to her ear, I saw out of the corner of my eye her two daughters and two grandchildren watching. Their sorrow filled the room. It was intense. And rightly so. That is the reality of death and living in a fallen world. Within a half-inch of this dear sister’s ear, I whispered to her, “Cling to the Lord Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd. He will walk with you through this valley of the shadow of death.” Her lips moved. I knew she heard and acknowledged me. I then stood up, moved away and listened to her family. They talked about how good a mom and grandmother she was; they went down memory lane. They were sharing and witnessing two realities about life; its brevity and its ending. I then began to talk to them about eternity and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus conquering what we are watching right now – death.
Friends, it is so easy to just live life going through our daily routines and responsibilities losing sight of these two realities about life – its brevity and its end. Even as Christians, we easily forget this life is only temporary, very fleeting, and will soon end. And it is so important we learn to think in terms of the transitory nature of this life and that it is designed to prepare us for the next life. I find it in myself and in many Christians, the ease of not remembering we are Pilgrims far away from home and only here for a very short period of time. King Solomon in his book of Ecclesiastes called life “a vapor” and even said it is “of few days” (Ecclesiastes 5:18). Just sit back and think about life. Maybe grab a photo album and go down memory lane. It doesn’t matter how old we are, the conclusion will be the same – “My, how life goes by fast.” Yes, it does and the most important thing we do as Christians is remember this reality. Such thinking is the only way to ensure our affections are not anchored in this world and its many tantalizing and distracting things. It is when we are wrapped up in this world, we lose sight of the next world. And when that happens, we grow complacent to the Gospel; we don’t long to see Jesus face-to-face; we don’t meditate on eternity; and we find our lives orbiting around this world instead of the next. One of the great losses with this lack of thinking on the brevity of life and eternity is the work of the Gospel and service in the church of the Lord Jesus. There is a reason why our Lord told us to pray for laborers in His harvest (Luke 10:2). He knew the shortage and one reason for such is the things of the world. Fellow follower of Christ, if we are too busy in the world to serve the Lord, His people, His mission and through His church, we simply are too busy and that about the wrong things. Granted we have God-given responsibilities in our homes and vocations, but we also have God-given responsibilities in our churches. He didn’t give us “either/or” in this life. He gave us privileges to be in the world, not of the world, and to be of His service to the world. Don’t so invest in this passing world with our time and energy that we come to the end of it and see how we neglected the other world. Such imbalance will only bring regret when our time of departure comes. Yes, life is short and death is certain. Let’s strive to maintain an eternal perspective. This journey will be over soon and we want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” from lives lived sacrificially for Christ outside His church and within.
PRAYER: “Father, help me not give into the allurements of this fleeting world and cause me to live for it instead of You.”
QUOTE: “Our lives are short and must be eternity-oriented if we want to live all of this short life for Christ and His glory”