On Tuesday afternoon I had a scan for AAA, an abdominal aortic aneurysm. I’d never heard of such a thing until I received an invite to screening; it appears I’m high risk being over 65 with heart disease. As it turned out, like 98.4% of men I was fine, but it’s the first time I’ve had medical treatment that made me feel nervous. What if they had found something wrong? I understand if it’s slightly enlarged you can live with it but if it’s greatly enlarged it will almost certainly require life threatening surgery. That happens to 0.1% of the male population. How would I be feeling today if I was one of the 0.1%?
Tuesday was a reminder that life is short, and I have no idea how short a time it is for me. We all seem to have this idea in our head that we’re immortal, that we can carry on for ever, but we don’t. Life throws unexpected curve balls our way, so some can live past a hundred while others barely manage a few seconds of breath before they are taken. We know this but we find it hard to believe that we may be one who’s taken early, and we continue oblivious to death’s reality and plan like we’ll live forever.
Jesus told a story about a wealthy farmer who had this attitude. Here’s the story:
“A rich man’s farm produced a big crop, and he said to himself, “What can I do? I don’t have a place large enough to store everything.” Later, he said, “Now I know what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I can store all my grain and other goods. Then I’ll say to myself, ‘You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.'” But God said to him, “You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up?” “This is what happens to people who store up everything for themselves, but are poor in the sight of God.” (1)
Life has many uncertainties but one great certainty is that it’s time limited. We just don’t know how much time though for each one of us. I’m writing this blog today for publication on Friday. Who knows, without sounding maudlin, I may not be around to read it on Friday. God in his wisdom may have decided to take me to be with him, which is a lovely thought. The rich farmer thought he had all the time in the world and he selfishly decided not to share his abundance but to store it up for the future, a future he didn’t have.
It’s vitally important to understand that this life is transient, it’s just a phase leading on to eternity. Rather than building solely for this life we should build with our eternal futures in mind. God has a care for the poor, the sick and the dying, and so should we. It will please him to know that we are not leading selfish lives. He also wants us to question ourselves and ask, “What will my eternity be like?” The Bible makes it clear that there are only two options, eternal life or eternal condemnation.
Eternal life is a life spent with God and his son Jesus. Eternal condemnation is a life separated from them. Eternal condemnation isn’t a life that I would like to explain but I can assure you it’s vital that you escape it. What you need is eternal life and that can only come to you via Jesus. Before you enter into the next life you need to make a decision about Jesus in this life, and you need to make it now. You have to decide today because there may be no tomorrow.
Jesus came from heaven to die for you. He chose to be punished for your sins because he loves you and wants you to be with him. He wants you to have eternal life, a life that continues for ever with no fear of death, because death will no longer exist. All those who know Jesus as their Saviour live without fear of death knowing that there is something so much better to come.
For you to have eternal life i.e. to have Jesus as your Saviour, you need to be sorry for your sins and you need to turn your life around so that Jesus is its focus. That’s what Christians mean when we say repent, it’s simply turn around from a life that doesn’t please God to one that does.. You need to acknowledge the death of Jesus for you and you should commit to living for him. Your sins can then be forgiven and you will be granted eternal life. It’s not hard is it? Do it today and if for some reason you are taken tomorrow you’ll be going somewhere wonderful.
- Luke 12:16-21