When I’m asked to share at churches or with short-term mission teams, my opening line is usually forcefully telling my audience, “You are all going to die!” I then go on to remind everyone that our time here is limited, don’t waste it. Is it a cheap way of getting an audience’s attention? Absolutely. But the point is still important, we all end up in a box someday. Some of us sooner than others, and we never know when that day will come.
We are living through a period in history unlike anything anyone alive has seen. It’s a global pandemic, historic levels of natural disasters, the US in the midst of upheaval, and a more contentious presidential election than almost any in US history. There are always world-changing events going on. It’s just unusual that so many events are going on at the same time.
This lack of stability in many lives is more significant than most people have ever experienced. According to YELP, 60% of all businesses closed due to COVID will never re-open, that is a HUGE number of businesses. This translates into many thousands of people who’ve lost their business investments. Many more people are now out of work permanently. In the last few weeks, tens of thousands of homes have burned on the west coast. That’s tens of thousands of families whose lives have been thrown into turmoil will never recover. Add in hurricanes and some freakish storms in the mid-west, and you’re looking at hundreds of thousands of additional homes destroyed. It’s a sad reality that the US is averaging over thirty thousand deaths a month due to COVID, and no one knows what the long term medical issues will be for those who recover.
So why re-hash what you’ve been reading in the headlines for the last six months? To drive home the point that we do not live in a stable world, we never have. Stability, when we’re relying on the things of this world, is a myth. It always has been. People die, buildings burn, empires fall, the only thing we can depend on is God, and our place in the Kingdom. It might be time to shore up your foundation.
For too many people, their security is placed in temporary things. Americans, more than most cultures, focus on job security and where they are financially. People put their security in their retirement accounts or other investments. But jobs are lost, industries change, and your life savings can be wiped out with one medical emergency. We’ve watched several stable countries in the world collapse in the last ten years. Don’t count on your retirement savings too much. Remember, the US will eventually just be a footnote in history; it’s just a question of dates.
Many people place their security in their health: maintaining a healthy diet, working out, thinking they can cheat death. They might add a few good years, but death will win in the end. Cancer can hit at any age, and accidents happen. Accidents (unintentional injuries) is the third leading cause of death in the US (pre-covid). By definition, no one plans on dying by accident.
I know three people (all under 55 and healthy) who’ve died from COVID in the last 30 days, and a couple more who are just hanging on. Most people will survive COVID, but no one knows the long-term effects of this disease. One more thing to add to the “life is uncertain” list.
This profoundly depressing ramblings stream of pending disasters is actually meant as an encouragement. If you are reading this, it’s not too late to put a few things in order. I’m assuming you know who your savior is and have made things right with God. If not, please do so.
Given that your salvation is secure, focus on what matters. The only thing that lasts, the only thing that matters, is that we represent Christ well. Christ, above all else, was a servant. Every word and every action telegraphed to all those around Him that He cared. This has to be our goal in the short time we have left while we’re still breathing. The only thing that matters, the only thing that lasts, is how we treat those around us. Are we representing Christ well?
You will not be around forever. You will wind up in a box. When people are around your box, how will you be remembered? No one (other than people in your will) will be impressed by how much stuff you accumulated. Please be remembered for the love and care you showed to others, be remembered for representing Christ well. It’s not too late.
You can help me by sharing this on Facebook or wherever you hang-out online.