“The statistics on death are very impressive,” one keen observer noted. “One out of every one dies.” And when death comes, it comes suddenly—and often unexpectedly. Of course there’s nothing new about that statistic, or our inclination to ignore it.
“Man does not know his time,” Solomon wrote. “Like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them” (Eccles. 9:12). The Old Testament patriarch Isaac didn’t know the time of his passing. In the twilight of his life, he confessed, “I am old and I do not know the day of my death” (Gen. 27:2).
Soldiers on the battlefield face the prospect of death daily. So do cancer patients who have been told their case is terminal. But have you come to grips with the fact that you are going to die—and that this event could be just around the corner?
If it’s true that God has ordained every day of your life—including the day of your death—every second that passes moves you closer to the grave. That’s a great reason to start thinking seriously about your eternal home.
Jesus once told a story of a farmer content with the abundance of his possessions. Tearing down his old barns to build bigger barns to store his grain, the foolish farmer said to himself: “You have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry” (Luke 12:19). But God had other plans: “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you” (v. 20). The word translated “required” refers to a loan that has come due. Our lives are simply on loan from God. He can “call in” the loan anytime He chooses!
Yet few of us—unless we’re of advanced age or suffering with a terminal illness—actually live in light of death. We view death as a distant possibility. And heaven? Well, that’s a subject for another time—or so we think.
But our departure from this life is certain. No one gets out of this world alive. “A person’s days are determined,” Job said. God “decreed the number of his months and . . . set limits he cannot exceed” (Job 14:5 NIV). Run all the miles you can and eat all the bran muffins you want; you’re not going to live on earth one second longer than God has predetermined.
The realization that our time on earth is finite should certainly motivate us to use our time wisely. Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should” (Ps. 90:12 TLB).
Your life is on loan from God, and one day He’ll ask you what you’ve done with it. What can you do today to invest your life wisely?
Dr. Robert Jeffress is the best-selling author of 24 books, a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host and the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, one of the largest and most influential churches in America Pathway to Victory, Dr. Jeffress’ broadcast ministry, airs daily nationwide on more than 900 radio stations and is broadcast live to 195 countries. His latest book, A Place Called Heaven: 10 Surprising Truths About Your Eternal Home, will release September 2017. He is an evangelical advisor to the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.