I used to mow the grass of the Shady Grove Cemetery in the map dot of Saltillo, Tennessee with a WWII Navy veteran I came to love dearly named Curtis. The work made for long days, but I could count on my friend Curtis to pack us plenty of goodies to enjoy on our breaks. This one day, while we were enjoying our Moon Pies and Dr. Pepper, two elderly ladies drove up and got out of their car and walked toward us. As we talked, one of them explained what spurred their visit, saying with a chuckle in her voice: “Our mother is buried here. My sister and I are the only two left in our family. My husband’s dead, and I’m nearly dead.”
I couldn’t disagree with her! Thankfully, through the cleansing power of Jesus Christ, disciples of Jesus do not have to fear death. Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (NIV). Praise God!
Still, there is a healthy sense in which we should all live our lives admitting we are nearly dead. We should humbly adopt a biblical perspective on what we do and do not control. If we fail in this and get a little cocky, James 4:14 will hit us between the eyes: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (NIV). Our life is just a vapor: now you see it, now you don’t.
James 4:13-17 suggests that we need to get down to the business of recognizing and following the will of the Lord each day (instead of boasting about all of our big plans for all those tomorrows we expect to have). Then, if our next tomorrow comes, let’s humbly do it again.