As we approach the end of 2016, I cannot help but remember what my father taught us as kids…
that it is way better to attend a funeral than to attend a party…..?1?
…Then you imagine our facial expressions changing to that of the inevitable….
Huh? Why? What do you mean?
Lately, we had the unique opportunity to view an inspirational movie entitled, “The Secret Life of Jonathan Sperry” portrayed by veteran actor, Gavin McLeod. It delves on the same theme.
I guess, it is a topic we would rather evade than look straight in the eye. the answer as to why this important is pretty straight forward – It simply keeps everything in perspective. Our lives will indeed end at the appointed times that the Lord calls us home. When that is, and how it will occur, is unknown to us.
In social media, much attention has been given to the fact that several celebrities passed on this year, the most recent ones reported were George Michaels, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Personally, my friends from high school and brethren at Emmanuel Church have lost dear loved ones as well.
It is just the way it is, and Scripture has called our attention to this since time immemorial. Since we are facing a brand new year, we do ourselves a favor when we remember that we live, not to eat and be merry.
Our lives are but a vapor.
To illustrate it geometrically, our current lives are but a “dot” or a “point”. What follows, where we spend eternity is like the “ray” or that graphic that looks like an arrow. From that point, eternity moves forward. As believers in Christ, we spend that eternity with our Heavenly Father in heaven.
So is this concept morbid after all? No, I don’t think so. It is realistic. It is true. We have to prepare for it.
Let’s look at this passage….
Ecclesiastes 7 (NIV)
7 A good name is better than fine perfume,
and the day of death better than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
the living should take this to heart.
3 Frustration is better than laughter,
because a sad face is good for the heart.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
5 It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person
than to listen to the song of fools.
6 Like the crackling of thorns under the pot,
so is the laughter of fools.
This too is meaningless.
7 Extortion turns a wise person into a fool,
and a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.
9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
for anger resides in the lap of fools.
10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
For it is not wise to ask such questions.
So with all that, I prefer to focus on verses 2 through 4 of Ecclessiates 7
It is BETTER to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for DEATH is the DESTINY of EVERYONE;
the living should TAKE THIS TO HEART.
There is hope. He is a Person and He is Alive and real. His name is Jesus. He became a man, died for our sins, and rose again.
The significance of what He did is, instead of, you and me, being condemned eternally for our own sinfulness, his blood paid our penalties in full. If we believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we become His very own.
What Jesus did was complete and effectual. For purposes of going to heaven, there is absolutely no need to add any “extra good deeds or good behavior” to the equation. Whatever good thing we do are merely evidence that the new life in Christ has simply taken root.
In short – Do not end 2016 without Jesus in your life.
Face 2017 not just as a new year, but as a year reaping heavenly eternal outcomes for your own life.