“Is this for Bob?” I stopped and asked the woman and young man shoveling dirt into the grave at a cemetery I was riding past on Monday. They responded that it was and said nothing else as I informed them I had worked with him for a few years. I had been told he had passed but had not stayed up on service dates and was not asked to officiate. I remained a minute or two in silent contemplation and rode away.
I returned home tired and hungry after 30+ miles of dirt road riding and Agathe mentioned we had some brats needing to be grilled so as the sky was clearing with a brief glimpse of sun over the last week of rain, I just pulled on a warm hoody and split wood for the fire. I was crumpling up the local newspaper to start it when I noticed an entry in the obituary…
My heart sank recognizing the picture of one of our members from a group Agathe and I minister with every other Sunday at a nearby retirement home. This gentleman was one of the “pioneers” who turned his walker around and sat down to celebrate the Word together with about 6 other folk three months ago. He was absolutely, sincere, encouraging, supportive, and appreciative. I had noticed the last month and a half he was weakening but had no idea for his bright smile and quick mind upon meeting him that he was in his 90’s! Immediately warm and likeable, I was moved by thinking he won’t be with us again… …in earthly worship.
Here is the deal – life is short – but don’t take my word for it…
A voice said, “Shout!”
I asked, “What should I shout?”
“Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field. The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord.
And so it is with people…” Isaiah 40:6-7
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 4:14
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” Psalm 39:5
Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. Psalm 90:10
Anybody here today over 80 years old?
Did you know you were defying the Bible????
Actually, I am SURE in this instance God is fine with that!
But, the fact remains, life IS short!
Granted it can be filled with the occasional day that seems to never end – but in the big picture, most of us will agree, life is short and time can fly!
I think there are two philosophies we can approach this phenomenon with: We can lament each tick of the clock as a harbinger of our inevitable demise, or we can live each moment in the quest to fulfill God’s good and perfect will.
We can lament, “WOE IS ME – ANOTHER CANDLE ON MY BIRTHDAY CAKE – WHICH THE DOCTOR SAYS I CAN’T EAT ANYWAYS!”
We can sing, “THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE. WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.” (Psalm 118:24)
Which are you?
Which of these two types of people do you prefer to be around?
Which of these two types of people make better evangelists?
You see the Psalmist in Psalm 118 is prophesying about God-incarnate in Jesus the Christ! He is looking forward to the day when the Teacher from Galilee redeems humankind via being rejected to the point of death and subsequent resurrection!
Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. Mark 8:31
And as heartbreaking as Christ’s suffering was…
His resurrection offers us the hope of eternity, reconciled to God by Christ himself!!
Christ inquired of Martha’s understanding at the raising of her brother Lazarus…
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” John 11:25
This is where we often falter because we think it ends in belief and neglect the necessity of LIVING IN JESUS!!!
The demons Jesus cast out in his early healing ministry believed and declared Jesus to be the Son of God and Jesus silenced them! How silent are we? Speaking to the religious leaders of his day Jesus informed them of the celebration of their faith RIGHT WITH THEM – but they missed it!
Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”
The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am!” John 8:56-58
WE CAN’T MISS IT!!! We MUST celebrate with the I AM while we still are!
Shouldn’t our very lives rejoice – not only in the hope of eternity – but also in the relationship we get to enjoy RIGHT NOW LIVING IN CHRIST whose very arrival the prophets foresaw with joy?
A voice said, “Shout!”
I asked, “What should I shout?”
“Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field.
The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord. And so it is with people.
The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:6-8 NLT
In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
So who cares if we feel like we might be “over the hill” – with God doing most of the pedaling shouldn’t we just enjoy the ride?
I even think God doesn’t mind if we occasionally take our feet completely off the pedals and laugh in the pure celebration of this life and the life He created to come!!