What Would Get Your Attention?
If any of us were told this week that we were facing imminent death, what would we change or how would we live? Someone may say it is not a fair question, since we may do a number of things that in any other context would be considered irresponsible. And while that is true, the real question is how much time would you need to be given before it had a meaningful impact on you! What if you had six months to live? Or five years? What about thirty years? At what point would death no longer threaten you? I think many of us are at that point right now – our deaths are a distant concern, at best.
When we are young, healthy, or both, it is easy to dismiss death, yet the Bible gives us many warnings about such an attitude:
“The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life” (Genesis 47:9).
“Our days on the earth are like a shadow” (1 Chronicles 29:15).
“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6).
“Now my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good. They slip by like reed boats, like an eagle that swoops on its prey” (Job 9:25-26).
“Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived” (Job 14:1).
“You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
Even more important to remember is that even youth is seen as brief. “Childhood and the prime of life are fleeting” (Ecclesiastes 11:10). The stage in our lives that is supposedly the most carefree and energetic is just as futile as our final days. It is very foreign to many young people to be told that they, too, are aging day by day. Every moment brings us closer to our eventual, unavoidable demise.
What surprises me, though, is how easily young people forget the example of their peers who fall prey to an early death. When teens die in drunk-driving incidents, why do their friends still drink? It is really easy to talk about mortality and perspective but much harder to apply it on a daily basis.
The sobering thought is, some of us may only have one day or one week left to live, we just do not have the luxury of being told in advance!