It has been said by Saint Cyprian “man is born with a noose around his neck,” which is quite telling if you think about it. Consider the fact that we are born, we live our lives, and we are each destined to eventually die. This is fact and is neither good nor bad, but it just is a basic fact of our lives.It does not matter how well you live your life or how badly you live your life…you are destined to die, which will end all the good things of this life that you possess. And you cannot take them with you into the afterlife!
What is important is HOW we live our lives between our birth and our death, this is important. Why you might ask? The fact is IF you accept the God of the Bible, in my opinion, the summation of the Gospels is that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of the Old Testament and was our Messiah, the Son of the Most High God; and that we are to live and lead our lives as Jesus walked by discipling others to follow Jesus.
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”~Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NIV
We are also charged with the great commission by the Christ:
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” ~Matthew 28:16-20 NIV
This is, again in my opinion, the summation of the Bible, generally speaking. We are to spread the love of the Christ. After all, if HE had died for each of us without ever meeting us and was the sacrifice for our sins…why shouldn’t we want to change and act accordingly??
Even Blaise Pascal who wrote the “Pensées” wrote a section on death. It is a common Christian belief that death makes all the good things of life to not be not so good anymore. Think about that for a moment…or two… Generally speaking, it seem that man begins to think more about the eternal, the heavenly, about God, and their souls when the begin to ponder death or even as they approach the end of their lives while watching many of their old companions pass away. It is then that the eternal question of what happens to our soul? Are we eternal? Is there an afterlife? And the list goes on and on… There is always something that triggers this, sometimes it occurs earlier in life. But eventually, everyone ponders the ultimate question(s) of their eternity.
Consider the open grave site…no matter who you are and no matter the station you hold in life and no matter when you die; this will be your body’s final resting place. The grave does not care who you were, prince or pauper, executive or laborer, adult or child. After all, we are told in Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”
“The leech has two daughters—Give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, “Enough!”: The grave, The barren womb, The earth that is not satisfied with water—And the fire never says, “Enough!”” ~Proverbs 30:15-16
By giving our lives over to God, the worries of death and life will have less affect on our lives that we lead daily; because we will be focused upon God who should be the center of our lives.
Consider, if you would, that by pondering on your death – not in a depressive or derogatory manner, but in a manner to accustom yourself to the fact that death is inevitable for you, your family, your friends, and your enemies (if you should have any.) While this next passage of scripture may be only slightly out of context, it is quite on point with respect to this present subject matter:
“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” ~Matthew 5:45
So, this was a reminder from Jesus – in His own words – that everyone regardless will receive rain in their lives, whether good or bad. That includes sunshine on their faces, that includes the breath of life, that includes the inevitable death of each! Often times people will turn from God because they believe He has done something wrong by taking the life of a loved one. But, point in fact, if we are the property of God:
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” ~Psalm 24:1
Then, how can God do something wrong by taking them back? It was promoted and expounded by John Locke that we have property rights in ourselves, but God being our Creator…does He not have property rights in us as well?
Also, we should keep in mind the fact that we do not know the hour or date of our death, just as the Son of Man shall come at a time which we know not, we must be prepared for that eternal visit. Meaning that we should be walking as Jesus walked, speaking as Jesus spoke, and carrying out the Great Commission that was placed upon us all. I truly believe that many of us “Christians” will be extremely taken aback at that time…but that is for another discussion.
I leave you with this, death comes for us all at some point in time; how will you be seen by the Christ? How will you be judged? For you will not be compared to other men or women, you will be compared to the commandments set before you and the task that Jesus placed at your feet to do His work before all mankind!
It is rather self-serving to say you are a good person and then compare yourself to Hitler, Stalin, or Mao Tse Tung. Consider the fact that God will place a liar on the same plane with a murderer.
“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker” ~James 2:8-11 NIV
You can consider that unfair all you desire, but the fact is the bar has been set how we are to act as children of the Living God! Now, go forth and act, speak, post, just as God has charged you to act, speak, and post. It is all written down in that book you have grabbed a hold of, so read it and apply it in your lives! Be leaders and disciples in the way of God by the order and charge of Jesus! God bless and Godspeed to you all and pray for all your brothers and sisters in Christ; all those who are known and unknown, and all those who are near and afar.
May God richly bless you all!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD