Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? (Proverbs 27:23-24 ESV)
I have been resting in the waiting room of a hospital for the last few hours awaiting my bride who is undergoing some tests. Two of the most common things found in a waiting room at a hospital are people who are waiting and people who are suffering. I encountered a suffering soul this morning whose children are here along with her husband. By all appearances, she could be in her 80s but her age isn’t what has prompted this journal, it is the wave of considerations that have flooded my soul as I witness her suffering. She has moaned in pain for the last hour while her family has been unable to help her, give her rest or remove her pain. They have continued to be there with every groan or breath of pain assuring her that “soon they will come get you to help with your pain.” This is a sad experience knowing that there are millions in pain all over this world today of ALL age groups. But it isn’t the pain that prompts me either. Looking at this family center on their beloved I realize that all of us sitting in this large waiting area will one day experience both sides of such reality. We will be sitting as a sufferer with those in pain and we too will be the ones suffering in pain.
There are many thoughts running through my heart and understand that I am no rookie when it comes to pain and suffering. This time, however, I am being prompted to consider that at this point in this poor woman’s life she has not given any thought to anything but her pain. She isn’t worried about how she raised her children (who are seated next to her with smiles). She isn’t worried about her place in this community and whether or not she made a difference. She isn’t concerned with her looks, hair, shoes, or her etiquette. She isn’t concerned with her social and spiritual spheres and whether or not her book club or Sunday School class is prepared for the week. She exists, in all likelihood, at the end of her life and this season of death will reveal what her life really meant.
Her daughter jokes with her and says to her, “It won’t be long before they take you for surgery and you’ll be able to dream without pain and you can dream about all the things we used to do.” Whether this woman lives another 10 years or returns to the Lord in the next few minutes, her life is a measure of many things, but in reality, all of our lives are only a measure of what is eternal. Otherwise, all we have accomplished will die with us. To that end, here is a brief summary of statements that reflect a deeper involvement with my own mortality.
- We are temporal in this Earth so all that we do, if not of the Gospel, will eventually turn to dust.
- Nothing we do will live in perpetuity if it is not the fruit of the gospel.
- Our social and political platforms and efforts will eventually die as God will destroy all crowns and nations. (No King but Christ)
- Our financial prizes and glory will take us to the grave and even those God gives and He can take away.
- Education apart from teaching others the glory of Christ will account for nothing.
- Satisfaction from anything that was not Christ will fade away in time.
- Future hope is vain if not in the cross.
- Our friendships outside the body of Christ are vain if they do not point to the cross.
- Defending anything in this life that doesn’t point to the ultimate glory of God in Christ is a fool’s errand.
- If we are not growing relationships with God’s people for the sake of the gospel then when we rest at the end all we will have is either a small group of mourners or a large group of hopeless secular pals.
- Our lives, in the end, should reflect a Gospel Powered fruitfulness:
- Joy in us and others through Christ alone.
- Diversity in thoughts and interests while being one mind and one Spirit.
- A circle of brothers and sisters from all tribes reflecting the TRUE gospel of Christ.
- A testimony of others that our lives mattered because we lived as aliens in a foreign land pursuing the glory of God at the cost of ALL that we were.
- Memories that would transcend anyone in any place in the world for the sake of the name of God almighty!
What else could be said? While these quick and fleeting thoughts are written, they too will be just a whisper one day. What are we really doing? What are we really causing? Who are we really reaching and with what? What will we do today to transform our minds? What will we do today to repent of our idols? What will we do right now to reflect the power of Christ? Huh? Why are we still sitting here reading these words? Be ready. Sober. Active for the sake of Christ, who is concerned with the Glory due His name. Amen.