TOO _______ TO DIE?
Written by Dr. Bill Bagents
“Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth” (Joshua 23:14).
“For the living know that they will die. . .” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).
“And as it is appointed for men to die once. . .” (Hebrews 9:24).
People say it in jest all the time. “He’ll outlive us all; he’s too mean, too stubborn, too tough, too rich, too poor, too nice, too important, too talented, too useless, too ignorant, too slow, or too busy to die.” Remember the line from the Tennessee Ernie Ford song, “Saint Peter, don’t you call ‘cause I can’t go. I owe my soul to the company store.” Sometimes it’s even said that a person is too young to die. We should know better.
People may surprise us with their toughness or longevity, but everybody dies. And that need not be a morbid thought. Psalm 90:7-12 takes a different view of mortality, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” We all know James 4:14-15, “. . .You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”
Honestly facing mortality is healthy, mature, and biblical. It gives each day, each moment, value and uniqueness. It invites us to appreciate the special people who bless our lives. It urges us to hold on to God and to live each day in His favor.
My favorite science fiction characters are the Kligons. Their battle mantra is, “Today is a good day to die.” In a serious and peaceful sense, Christians can claim that mantra. It’s what Paul says in Philippians 1:19-26. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In either case, Christ is magnified by our faithfulness. Being with Christ is key.
Except for those who remain until the coming of the Lord, all will die. We’re wise to face this truth. We have the opportunity to die prepared, ready to meet the Lord. And we all know that the only way to die ready is to live ready.