Death can be fearful, simply because we have to physically deplete in order to physically ascend. That can be degrading, because you either watch someone you love go downhill fast, or you watch yourself do so. If you know Christ, you ascend and have a new body and a forever eternity. If you don’t know Christ, well then, you will also physically deplete unto death, but your eternity will be on the opposite side of eternity; that place called, hell. One of the most spiritual places you will ever be, is next to a person who is close to this thing we call death. It happens in a home, a hospital room, or even next to someone in an accident somewhere in life.
Some couple of years ago, I drove up on an accident in our little downtown city. I arrived to gaze, but also to sense the surroundings in my own spirit and see if there was something experience and being in the moment could teach me. Blue lights, red lights, ambulances, fire trucks, policeman, crying people, and finally, a person lying in the middle of the street covered in a white sheet, with his motorcycle nearby.
You could feel the energy no longer on point because he had desisted, depleted, and deceased. I began to wonder…who is this person, where are his family members, does someone care, where is he in the eternal spectrum, why tonight, I wonder what those who know him are doing right now, how will they react seeing an officer knock on their door, and lastly, how does God work in death. I felt a sadness as I drove home. That person probably had no idea their life would end on this night.
I am being convinced that many believers, including me, vaguely care about the eternal destination of others, outside of ourselves. As a pastor, many of us through the years have cared, if, it meant being “on the list” or to get the accolades, or to grow our church, but most of that caring was simple selfishness and what the scripture calls, “wood, hay, and stubble.” We still care but we don’t! You know what I mean. We want to care, but we don’t exemplify caring because we go about our busy lives trying to make it through, pay the bills, get it all done, count how many we have in attendance on Sunday, while ceasing to live with the end in mind. The opposite extreme, is when we truly and authentically care…no feeling like this and people can sense you, smell you, and tell, if you really care.
Let me try to help- “On mission” is simple…live with eternity in mind, everyday, every hour, every minute, every second. Make decisions this way, move to a new city this way, speak to a person in this way, consider your day of worship in this way, love your children in this way, educate yourself this way, love others this way, preach/teach this way, risk this way, travel this way, and most of all, obey God in this way. We make it all too complicated. Trace the maps in the Bible- Paul just went to the next best place in obedience. We must do the same!
When you live life in obedience, your life will have counted for others, for yourself, and for those who come behind you and remember your life. THIS, my friends, is the way to take the immediate “sting” out of death for yourself and those that love you. Life is hollow without living for something and someone that will outlive you, your children, your grandchildren, and all of the ages.
Last November, I sat in the ER wondering why I had one pupil much larger than the other. I was diagnosed with two dissected carotid arteries in my neck. This can happen from turning your neck quickly through manipulation, accidents, sneezing, etc. It’s very strange but real. What that did to my mind, immediately, was it raced my thoughts of what could happen to me over the next few seconds because we did not know if there were blood clots, blockages, leaks through the arteries, etc. etc. It was very vague. Death crossed my mind. It was peaceful, however, I felt that I had much more to do down here. My conversation with God was, “You know I have not reached my God-given potential yet. You know I have some dreams for your kingdom that I have not had a shot at yet. You know, you know, you know…..” Ultimately, it was not a sad state for me, except in thinking of those I would leave behind, too soon. World class doctors were orchestrated to my side. I had no idea who they were then, but because of them, I am fine today. We now have a friendship, and I sensed authentic concern from these top rate physicians…in other words, they truly cared. Money or prestige was not on their radar, at least from my discernment. In fact, my doctor would care enough to call me multiple times over the Christmas holidays while he traveled and would ultimately give me his personal cell phone (hmm, might be a word to professional pastors).
One thing I know for sure, is that in the times I have been really close to God in one on one communication, I sense Him, I know Him, I hear Him, and He shows me His love. In fact, the greatest theology in the world is LOVE! Shortage of love- yes, from human to human…no, from supernatural heavenly father to his children. Right now, trust, start over, and step out, whatever it is you are contemplating! We conquer fear of death by repeating “fear not” 365 times a year and believing it! Live now so you can die well!