As this year winds to an end, it is gives each person time to look back not only on the past year but their entire lives. To the young, it seems that life will last forever, but to those who are older, the fact that life will not last forever becomes more apparent with each passing year. In fact the years seem to be rushing by, heading to eternity.
Some believe they will live forever. They make no plans for eternity, and they live their lives that way. God’s word tells us about the brevity of this life. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
The Hebrew writer said, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb. 9:27). It matters not what great plans are made for the future; death can come when we least expect it.
In the account of the rich man and Lazarus it seems that all the rich man cared about was things he could enjoy in this life, not thinking of eternity or even his fellow man. This man forgot God. How true this is of so many who are more concerned with this life than they are of the one to come. Last year at this time, thousands of people believed they would see 2014, but they did not make it.
God has blessed man with the here and now to prepare for eternal life. It is up to each person to take advantage of these blessings. Yet how easy is it to get caught up in all the cares of this life? It takes a constant effort to keep our mind on the goal set before us.
John wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1 John 2:15-17).
If a person has made sure they have made all the preparation possible for eternity, checked the preparation with what the Bible says, then the thought of facing eternity is not a frightening thing. Christians know that leaving this life to be with God is a good thing.
Paul spoke of it in this manner, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:…” (Phil 1:23). Paul was prepared to take the journey into eternity.
He had not always been ready. While making a trip to arrest Christians, Paul (then called Saul) was told by Jesus to go into the city and he would be told what to do. Annianis the preacher told him to, “Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins…” (Acts 22:16).
He then lived a life for God, so that he was able to say, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,… (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
The reality of the passing years should not be a worrisome thing, it should be a joyful thing, enjoying the life God has given to man, by serving him.