By Adam Brown –
Last night and this morning I received two pieces of tragic news. The first was that a 38-year-old man close to my family lost his arm in an accident at work. The second was that an athletic 35-year-old friend of mine, who was particularly close to my sister and her husband, died of an unexpected heart attack. Both incidents occurred yesterday.
This news has hit me hard. I am especially grieved for those who were closer to each of these men than me.
I tell you these things for three pastoral reasons.
1. The circumstances of life are uncertain, but we can be certain in the Lord.
I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but I know that God is still God tomorrow and that the Lord Jesus Christ has secured eternal life for all who believe.
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son” (Revelation 21:6–7).
The sad news of today has strengthened my resolve to thirst for the living water that comes exclusively from the Lord.
2. Life is best lived with an intentional focus on the eternal.
It is so easy to be distracted by the here and now. The trivial and the mundane so easily eclipse the eternal. And yet, everything will pass away, except that which is held by the Lord our God.
The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:7–8).
The tragedies of these two men sharpen my gaze on the eternal horizon where Christ resides and where, by God’s grace and mercy, men of grass can become saints of glory.
3. There ought to be an urgency manifested in the way we live our lives.
Every mortal life is numbered in days. However, the life that is hid in Christ will endure forever. When we keep our minds focussed on matters of eternal life and eternal death, then the petty annoyances of this life fade away. Moreover, when our lesser thoughts give way to the Greater Reality, then we will live with an urgency for all that truly matters.
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34–38).
Today’s heartache rekindles in me a desire to boldly share the Gospel to a lost and dying generation.
These two tragedies touched me personally today. However, countless experiences like these are happening every minute of every day, all over the world. Let us, therefore, busy ourselves in the cause of Christ. For, in the end, it is the cause of Christ that matters most.
It shall endure forever.