“Only two things are sure in life: death and taxes,” so goes the famous saying.
A story is told of the famed philosopher Diogenes. He was looking intently at a large collection of human bones that were piled one upon the other. Alexander the Great stood nearby and became curious about what Diogenes was doing.
Diogenes replied, “I am searching for the bones of your father, but I cannot seem to distinguish them from those of the slaves.” Alexander got the point: All are equal in death.
Death has been called “the great equalizer.”
It afflicts the young and the old.
The weak and the strong.
The king and the commoner.
The rich and the poor.
The educated and the ignorant.
Both male and female.
And people of all colors.
Death has no favorites. From the moment of birth, human beings are moving steadily towards death. Current estimates are that at least 53.4 million people die every year (or 102 every minute) throughout the world. One day I will also die (unless Jesus comes back first). So will you.
Let me ask you the following question: Are you ready to face death? Are you afraid of death? Does the thought of it bring fear into your heart? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, there is absolutely no reason to fear death!
As the Apostle Paul wrote, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
As believers in Jesus Christ, we can be confident that heaven awaits us on the other side. Heaven will be eternal, not temporal. Heaven will last forever and ever and ever and ever and ever…and ever! As the well-known line in Amazing Grace says,
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun;
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun.”
Imagine living for 10,000 years! How old are you now? I’m almost 50. If this was heaven, I would still have another 9,950 years before reaching the 10,000 year mark. And to think that after 10,000 years, we will have just barely begun!
This is why it is so important that we remind ourselves that, “life on earth is the preface to the book, the warm up to the concert. Heaven is the main event!” (Randy Alcorn)
This is also why Scripture refers to life on earth as “momentary” (2 Corinthians 4:16), a “vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14), a “breath” (Job 7:7), and “our days on earth are as a shadow” (Job 8:9).
The Psalmist sums it up well when he writes in Psalm 39…
“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.” (vv. 4-5)
Compared to eternity, life on earth is like the blink of an eye or the snap of a finger. Scripture tells us over and over to remember “how brief life on earth is” when compared to “eternity!” When we do this, it gives us perspective. It allows us to view our troubles, afflictions, trials and temptations through the lens of eternity.