Four Strings of the Violin by Edward Okun

Is there a more sobering question…are you ready to die? Living in an era where death is far removed from social conscious, where there’s no threat of plague or persecution looming over us as it did in ages past (and still does in some parts of the world), it’s easy to lull ourselves into a sort of immortal daydream—where death is real but not likely to touch us for some time.

But it’s not just the world who lives in this daydream—Christians are guilty too. The problem with this sort of thinking is that it dulls our walk with Christ. It makes us sluggish, lazy Christians—chronic procrastinators who put off for tomorrow what can be done today.

“I’ll start reading my Bible more in the new year…”

“I’ll witness to my unsaved coworker another day…”

“I’ll repent for that sin tomorrow…”

The Bible has much to say of procrastination—of making the best use of what little time we have here on Earth.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16

Are you ready to die…? How different we would live if we awoke with this question on our tongue and ended the day the same. Because as we know, should Jesus tarry, we will face death and likely sooner than we think.

Just this past year, mere hours before the New Year, my 28-year-old brother Tommy was killed–murdered by a man with a grudge. This past Sunday, basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven other passengers died in a helicopter crash. Maybe you’ve recently experienced the death of a loved one…

“They had their whole lives ahead of them!” we cry.

But we know different. We know there’s no guarantee of making it from the womb let alone to the ripe old age of 75. Yet still we live our comfortable, monochrome Christian lives. There’s no fire in our bosom, no pep in our step.

We’re called to be imitators of Christ (Ephesians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 11:1) who, keeping the cross before Him (his death), lived a life of singular focus and purpose: to do the will of his Father.

Our calling is the same, to do the will of the Father.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20

So, let’s live our life like Paul who even while in prison, his death eminent, shared the gospel with his guards and continued to write letters of reproof, rebuke, and exhortation to his brothers and sisters (2 Timothy 4).

Let’s live our lives like the Christians in China who are so bold, so on fire for God that their government is constantly at their heels seeking to silence them.

Let’s live our lives with purpose like the faithful believers in our own country…the pastors who toil over scripture to teach us God’s Word every Sunday, the evangelists who proclaim the gospel boldly in front of abortion clinics and on busy street corners; the faithful wives and mothers who work tirelessly to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

Are you ready to die…?

Live your life as such, dear sister, that when your time comes, death will find you with a clear conscious, sweat on your brow, hand to the plow, and “yes, Lord” on your lips.

“Few are thy days and full of woe,

O, man of woman born;

Thy doom is written, dust thou art,

To dust though shalt return.”

Thou blooming youth, hence learn how soon

thy years may end their flight;

Long, long before life’s brilliant noon,

May come death’s gloomy night.

And now, O, Lord, reveal thy grace,

The youthful hearts to gain,

and make them early seek thy face,

And never seek in vain.

Excerpt from the hymn “Death and Resurrection” by Isaac Watts

Until next time, salutations and selah.

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