Monday, June 15, 2009

what is your life?

The first thought I had of it came in church yesterday morning.  The congregation heard the account of a woman in the hospital who was given a maximum of two days to live. She wanted a chaplain to come and talk with her. In God's merciful providence, the hospital could not get a hold of the chaplain on call. So they called the deacon from our church.  He went in to see her, and the woman, barely able to talk, told him that she wanted her sins to be forgiven. "What does it mean to be a Christian?" she asked him. By God's grace, he told her the good news of Jesus Christ and prayed with her.  This woman found the rest she was searching for - in the Savior.  Merely hours before it happened... 

That afternoon, several families from our church went to visit the local nursing home.  As I played the piano and the children sang songs about the Gospel, my heart was filled with hope.  Here we were in a room filled with so many lonely people.  Those who did have family visiting were accompanied by their guests. Even staff members were present, or would peek their head in the room out of curiosity.  I don't think I had ever seen the room that full. I could barely make my way through the maze of wheelchairs and beds.  All of them were there eager and glad to hear our songs and the message of the Gospel.  What a glorious opportunity!  After we were through singing, I made my way around to say hello to some of the residents. As I held their frail hands, and gave them a smile and  a greeting, I felt an overwhelming sense of the eternal importance of what we were doing.  I had done this countless times before, but never felt such urgency, such joy in giving joy to others.  I prayed that their eyes would not just see cute children and kind people, but the beauty of Christ and the glory of the Gospel.  This could very well have been the last time I would have seen some of these familiar faces.  Praises be to God for the opportunity to show His love and sing of the hope of the Savior.  These dear people are soon to face it...

At home that evening, my family gathered in the living room to listen to an excellent message by CJ Mahaney. One of my sisters and I had heard it given a few weeks ago at Next, but it was the first time to hear it for the rest of the family.  Pastor Mahaney spoke on a topic of first importance, the death of Christ.  He quoted Charles Spurgeon: "We cannot think of that death too often." Then he went on to proclaim the glories of the forsaken Savior and what it meant for Him to be cut off from His Father, and be left to drink the cup of God's wrath alone. "He drained the cup dry, leaving us not a drop to drink. He experienced wrath so that we might experience grace. He was forsaken so that we might be forgiven by the Father... He screamed so that we might sing nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ. He was forsaken so that we might never be forsaken."  What astounding mercy!

Then he spoke about the dying Savior.  And I was reminded again of this fact.  It comes to all men.  The repeated phrase in Genesis 5 "...and he died" will one day be said of every one of us. Will one day be said of me.  And because of the Savior's death, I need not fear death.  Why? Because when I die, "the next face [I will see], and the next voice [I will hear], will be the Savior's!" Because He drained the cup of God's wrath dry for me, I know that only grace remains.  All because of His... DEATH.

We do not know what our futures hold.  But there is one thing certain to happen to all of us... It is the one thing that happens to everyone. Yet it is the one thing we treat as if it will never happen.  Or something that is still a long way off.  Yet James tells us... "What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." (James 4:14) What does this mean?  It doesn't matter if we live to be a hundred years old, or if we died this very day.  Our lives will be over before we know it.  

So then, the question remains...
"How then shall I live?"
Are we living and breathing to display the only true and lasting treasure - Jesus Christ?  Are we people who are constantly surveying and pointing others to His wondrous cross - His death that makes all the difference in this life and the one to come? Are we counting all earthly things as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord?  Are we using our material blessings to show that these things are not our treasure - Christ is?  

Or are we storing up for ourselves treasures on earth? Things that may bring us temporary pleasure, but in the end mean nothing when we come to stand before God?

Don't waste your life!