Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Foolish Life

I was reading a back-issue of Randy Alcorn's Eternal Perspectives Newsletter (free subscription at Eternal Perspectives Ministries) and came across the following quote:

"Any life that leaves us unprepared for death is a foolish life."

This has a similar flavor to the couplet inscribed on a Puritan-era tombstone in Boston:

As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be.
So prepare for death,
And follow me.

We in America absolutely detest even thinking that our lives are finite. It is an uncomfortable subject for many reasons, not the least of which is that we unconsciously consider this life to be superior to the next. As Christians, we should know better!

But the bottom line is that each of us will face death, and only God knows the span of our life. Both Randy Alcorn and this voice crying out to us from the grave are pleading with us to consider our lives in light of their finitude. To a Christian, this should call us to consider if we are truly living our lives in a manner worthy of our status as God's adopted children. Are we building His Kingdom? Are we finding joy in doing His will? Are we shining light into a dark world?

Or...are we living for ourselves, for our "Disneyland" experience here in America (as my pastor likes to put it)? Are we so chummy with the culture that we cannot begin to fathom God's radical call on our lives?

How does one prepare for death? I propose that one prepares for death by the intentional living of his life, becoming more and more like Christ every day, obeying Him, and doing His will. By the end of our lives, our only plea on our deathbed should be, "Oh, that I had more time to show the love of Christ to the world...but to die is gain!!!"

We should be striving to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant"...not "Well done, good and faithful servant, for you broke that sporting record" or "Well done, good and faithful servant, for you died with the most toys" or even "Well done good and faithful servant, for you attended church faithfully." The key word here is servant. We serve the risen Lord, doing His bidding in the world. We don't ascertain that bidding through circumstance and feeling, but rather through careful study and application of the Scripture. And I dare say that most of what we in the American Evangelical Culture are doing reflect the intent of the latter comments above, and will burn up as the chaff it is.

Trust me when I say part of the reason I write is to preach to myself. I admit it... I love my vacations. I love my home. I love my toys. I love the accolades I get from my job. I take for granted God's blessings in my life. And NONE of these things will amount to a hill of beans from God's viewpoint. In fact, there is a good argument to be made that they may even be idols! And if you've read some of my earlier posts on idolatry, you know how God abhors idolatry. Where is my focus? When will my actions match my words?

Oh Lord, in the name of your Son, Jesus, please make it so!!! Please give me, and all who read this, the desire to conform our lives to that of our Savior. And when that desire is there; please turn it into action. Give us a vision for what You want from us on this earth. Give us a vision of what truly matters, and grant the joy and desire to do those things! Then Lord, take all the glory from our transformed lives!! Amen!

May we have a healthy understanding of death... and how to prepare for it....

No comments: