Or as James warns us (James 4:4): “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” Yep, no one knows what tomorrow will bring. Yet most folks live as if they will live forever. Sure, we hopefully seek to get the right balance. Insurance companies probably do not dish out policies to those who are in their late 90s. And hopefully we all know when to ease up on certain things when it looks like we are running out of time.
No, this is not something you might find in Good Housekeeping magazine. It is a bit more serious than that. The other day I told my wife that I am trying to tidy up loose ends and deal with some unfinished business. When she asked why, I said it is always possible I may go to glory while on the operating table.
Yes, that was said in jest, but much truth lies behind it. I AM in fact going into hospital for surgery today. So I would appreciate any prayers you might offer up for me, as most surgeries do have an element of risk. And the older you get, the less you can assume you are going to be on planet earth for decades to come.
So I am thinking about eternity somewhat of late. But it is not just us old guys, or those who are heading out to the hospital, who should have their minds on such matters. The truth is, we all should, even those who are healthy and fit, and still in their twenties.
You never know when you will be called into the next life. You could head out your door today and get struck and killed by a runaway truck, or by a bolt of lightning, or by a crazed gunman. These might be unlikely scenarios, and I wish them on no one, but they can and do happen.
Every minute of the day someone, somewhere will die – and for all sorts of reasons. And so many of these folks were NOT expecting to die – at least not so soon. Most of them were not ready. Most of them were not prepared. They had not set their house in order.
We still use that phrase today, and like so many famous sayings, it actually comes from the Bible. In this case, it comes from 2 Kings 20:1 which says: “In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover”.’”
The Bible often speaks to how we must have our house set in order. We are often told that death can come at any time, or that Christ can return at any time. Are you ready for either one? Are you prepared to meet your Maker? Are you ready for how you will spend eternity?
Consider just a few passages which speak to the need to be prepared. Jesus famously gave such a warning in the parable of the rich fool as found in Luke 12:13-21:
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Are you a fool? Or are you wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil? In Psalm 39:4-6 the Psalmist put it this way:
O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
Or as James warns us (James 4:4): “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” Yep, no one knows what tomorrow will bring. Yet most folks live as if they will live forever.
Sure, we hopefully seek to get the right balance. Insurance companies probably do not dish out policies to those who are in their late 90s. And hopefully we all know when to ease up on certain things when it looks like we are running out of time.
Let me offer a few examples of this, starting with some less important ones. I just came back from the shops recently with a four-pack of yellow highlighter pens, for underlining my books. Now if I really thought I was not going to make it through my surgery, that was a dumb purchase – but it was a steal at $2.50! But wait, there’s more. I not only have 30 books that I have ordered that I am waiting on, but I just went out and bought 6 new books. Now that is real faith!