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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Die spending it!

Although I read the Bible on a daily basis, and although I read plenty of "theological" books, I also enjoy reading a good mystery story, or a thriller. In the story I started to read during "gouter" this afternoon, one of the characters provides the line: "I made my money, and it's all mine. I'll spend it all before I die!"

I am unable to recall the precise wording on a tee-shirt I saw someone wearing, a long time ago. However, it was along the same lines (and those of the heading to this post). It is, undoubtedly, a very natural idea. If I have worked hard to amass a fortune (I haven't, by the way - amassed a fortune, that is!), then it seems only fair that I should enjoy the fruits of my labour, and spend that fortune on myself - doesn't it?!

There is, of course, one major flaw in that attitude - not one of us knows, for certain, when we are going to die! If I had £1million in my bank account, and I want to spend it before I die, then I had better be quick about it. I may die in my sleep tonight; I may be hit by a speeding car, tomorrow; a meteor might, even as I type, be hurtling through the earth's atmosphere, heading directly towards my home, and I have only another 75 secs to live. I suspect that it would be difficult to spend even £10, never mind £1million, on oneself, in 75 secs!

Space, we were told in the early series of Star Trek, was the final frontier for mankind. Not quite true. From a purely human perspective, we know a great deal more about space than we do about death. It is, in our contemporary society, the "taboo" subject. Many refuse to use the word at all! Their loved one has not "died", but "passed away", or "passed over", or simply "passed"; or they have "kicked the bucket", or are (if the funeral, and a burial, have taken place) "kicking up the daisies"!

At least a part of the reason for this is the fear we tend to have, of the unknown. What happens when we die? Is it a case that, as the humanist atheist would have us believe, that we simply cease to exist, and return to the basic elements of which we are composed? Or, perhaps, as those who believe in the concept of reincarnation would claim, that we return in a different body - that may, or may not, be human - depending on how well we have lived this current life?

The Bible says, quite simply that "... it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment," (Heb.9:27). This life is not a rehearsal - it's the real thing. However, that same Bible also makes clear that there need be no fear. Why? Because death, and hell, and the grave have been defeated! At Calvary, just outside the ancient city of Jerusalem, almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth, God the Son, was crucified for your sins, and for mine. That, in itself, is an amazing truth. He paid the penalty that was, and is, deservedly mine! However, that wasn't the end. For, on the third day, the tomb in which His dead body was laid was found to be empty! He had been raised from the dead, and ;lives forevermore.

This is why the genuine disciple of Jesus has no fear of death. There may be concern about the process of dying, that can often be a long, drawn-out, painful experience. But death itself? Paul wrote: "'O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor.15:55-57). That whole chapter is actually well worth reading!

There is another common saying that "There are no pockets in a shroud", i.e. when I die I will leave behind as much as Bill Gates - everything! (Okay - so his 'everything' will be somewhat more than mine! But you get my point?!). Jesus said: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matt.6:19-21). All that I can "take with me" is what I have sent on ahead - my life given over to His control, as I accepted, by faith, the salvation so graciously provided by Him. (see Eph.2:8).

Does the thought of death cause you dismay? Then come to the One Who has conquered death, and let Him lead you through the remainder of your mortal life. You'll never regret it, if you do.

1 comment:

Colin Ross said...

On the point of people not wanting to use the 'dead' word, opting for 'passed away' etc., I don't know WHY people fear that word, especially when it is recorded that El Shaddai Himself used it - Joshua 1:2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites."