I still remember it as if it were only yesterday.I was in my Little Rock hotel room, on April 19, 1995, preparing to teach six classes full of associates who were a part of the bank we had just acquired.As would sometimes happen, my cell phone rang and I answered fully expecting to hear the voice of my wife, who, along with our children, was still living in Norman, Oklahoma.This time something in her voice was different.There was a sense of urgency, fear, desperation and other emotions which overtake us when tragedy strikes close to home.She told me to turn on the television because “something had happened.”
The pictures truly didn’t do the destruction justice.Half of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building was gone, taking 168 innocent victims with it.All of these victims had walked into a building they had frequented dozens of times and, just 60 seconds earlier, had been about their business on what was going to be a beautiful spring day in Oklahoma.And then the certainty of eternity was sealed.
Everyday in our world, we see tragedies that, in the blink of an eye, bring about a finality that was never thought of only minutes earlier.But yet the certainty of eternity is still very real.
James warned us in James 4:14, “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” Yet even with this warning, most of us live each day as if our right to wake up tomorrow is owed to us.We need to understand life is precious.
First, life is precious because our time on this earth is short.Job 14:1-2 states, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue.”We do not know the number of days we are going to be given on this earth.By the time I reached my senior year in high school, 11 kids who started out in school with me had died from various illnesses or accidents.And while we consider these events tragedies, Jesus has always warned us that our purpose is not to put stock in the things of this world, but to prepare ourselves to meet God (Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:16).Parental responsibility in raising our children is so important because our kids will learn about life somewhere and from someone.Even if they survive to adulthood, we have very little time to “…bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Second, life is precious because death is sure.Hebrews 9:27 tells us, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”We must be ready to meet the Lord at whatever time he may come.We have no idea when that will occur.Peter reminds us, in 2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”It is not enough to think we are right in the sight of the Lord in that final day.Christ says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).We often live as if we write the rules by which we will be judged.But consider the following passages:
John 8:32 - And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 17:17 - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 - And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Peter 1:20-21 - Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
God’s Word, the Truth, is what will judge us in that final day.Not what I want, but what God commands.We try to fool ourselves by saying “when it comes” as if we will have time to make amends before going before the throne of God.My friend, when that last breathe of life leaves your body, your eternal destination is sealed.No begging, no pleading, no deal making; eternity is set (Luke 16:19-31).
Third, life is precious because opportunities in life can be elusive.Paul wrote to the church at Galatia, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).We need to quit focusing on things in life which garner no spiritual value.Paul again writes, this time to the church at Ephesus, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15).We need to take advantage of those privileges we have to serve God in our daily life.
Last, life is precious because souls, your soul, are important.In Ezekial 18:4 we are told, “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.”Christ reminds us in Mark 8:36, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
What is your soul worth to you?How about the souls of your friends, family, co –workers?I can tell you what it is worth to Jehovah God:
Romans 5:6-11 - For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
You have no more excuses.The truth has been told, the price has been paid.Are you ready for your journey into eternity?