"True wisdom is developed in the crucible of life's trials."
Better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for that is the end of all men;
and the living will take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. Ecclesiastes 7:2-4
We never see this passage cross-stitched on pillows or placed on coffee mugs, but we should!
When we live in a perpetual state of activity and play, always moving, always doing, rushing from one event to the next - there is no time to think.
- What is my purpose?
- Where will I go when I die?
- Is my eternity secure?
- How do I spend my time?
- Am I investing in Kingdom work, or do I live for this world?
- Do I serve others? Consistently, faithfully, selflessly?
- If someone looked at my calendar, how much of my time is spent on self?
- For whom do I sacrifice my time, my desires, my money, my rights?
- If I died tomorrow would I leave any relationships broken and unrestored?
- Do the people I love KNOW I love them?
- Do I live a life of obedience before the Lord, or do I only dabble in spiritual things?
- When I die, will people remember me as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ?
- Do I make a difference? In the lives of others ... do I make life BETTER?
Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
We live next to a beautiful cemetery and a few times each year I take our children on a walk - which ends at the cemetery. We meander through the tree-lined paths enjoying the unique peace, looking at different headstones that catch our attention, and talking about the frailty of life. It is a sobering time, but one that must happen. It forces us to think. It forces us to face our fears of death. It forces us to imagine what life would be like without someone we love, what life would be like without us.
Scripture says it is BETTER to be in a house of mourning than a house of feasting. Not equal to - but better. And while we walk between the beautifully-etched headstones we talk about this.
We were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We were not created for our own pleasures and whims. Life is not about us - it is about Christ. What better place to be reminded of such truth than to stand in the midst of hundreds of graves that powerfully remind us that death is how life ends? It cannot be avoided. It cannot be stopped.
Death is the end of every man and the living take it to heart.
The question is - how long do we let it convict our hearts?
O Lord, what is man that you regard him,
or the son of man that you think of him?
Man is like a breath;
his days are like a passing shadow. Psalm 144:3,4
O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Psalm 39:4,5
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
you are remembered throughout all generations. Psalm 102:11,12
Lord, nothing is ever wasted in Your economy, including death. You have a purpose for every life You create whether they live 100 days or 100 years. We are so prone to fill our days, our hours, and our thoughts with things that have no value. They *seem* important until eternal perspective slaps us in the face and we are forced to figure out what "really matters." The things is, You have already shown us what matters in Your Word. Scripture is filled with instructions on how we are to live - and not one of those instructions includes living for Self. We have one purpose - to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Once we grasp that truth, we are commanded to love one another. Oh, Lord. Help us figure out how to balance the reality of death with the importance of LIFE. You came so we might have it abundantly ... please don't let us miss out on such riches! And most of all, Lord, may we become a people who cries out with every breath ...
Let me live that I may praise You! Psalm 119:175