On Sunday February 26, I celebrated my birthday. My birthdays have had a whole new meaning now that I have a lovely wife who pulls out all the stops to make the day extra special, an all action daughter who could not make sense of the candles on the cake and some truly special friends and family whose love is beyond doubt. I am actually writing this from a customized office in our home designed and arranged by my thoughtful creative wife (yes I had to throw that one in somewhere).
A few years ago however, my birthdays became a point of serious reflection on my life. February 26, is now a day I take stock of how I am living and what I am living for. It also is a day when I think about my impending death. Yes! You read right. It dawned on me that while I become older on my birthday, I also get closer to my death. Now I understand most people are terrified of death and would rather not think or talk about it and some think those who do talk about death are pathologically morbid.
To such people, I offer first the words of Mark Twain who stated “the fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” A life well lived is a life ready to die. Then second and most important the words of scripture;
GOD DETERMINES OUR YEARS AND OUR DEATH
Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not. And do you open your eyes on such a one and bring me into judgment with you? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one. Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass- Job 14:1-5
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. Hebrews 9:27
WE SHOULD CONSTANTLY REMIND OURSELVES OF THE BREVITY OF LIFE AND OUR IMPENDING DEATH
For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:9-12
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.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:13-17
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. Ecclesiastes 7:1-4
DO NOT WASTE YOUR LIFE
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Ecclesiastes 11:9
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24