Dust to Dust

I’m on vacation, but I’m thinking about death. My friend texted at three-thirty this morning to say her husband of many years had died moments earlier. My Bible reading later in the day just happened to be on the same subject. Plus, I’ve been reading David Roper’s book, “Psalm 23 – The Song of the Passionate Heart.” When I stuffed that book in my bag before we left, I had no idea how relevant it would be. The author talks a lot about the brevity of life and the finality of death.

“It boggles the mind,” Roper writes, “to think of all the money, time and energy we spend trying to stave off death—the medical profession, the defense budget, the cosmetics industry. But despite all the schemes we devise to stay alive, or at least look alive as long as possible, we only delay the inevitable. Ashes to ashes; dust to dust. Everybody, no matter how enduring, descends to decay, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”

As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time to be born and a time to die.” Evidently, it was my friend’s husband’s time to die. The Bible also says we’re destined to die once and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). The good news is that “death has been swallowed up in victory,” thanks to Christ’s triumph over sin on the cross (I Corinthians 15:55-57). Those who receive the salvation he offers don’t need to fear death.

In the meantime, how then shall we live? (to quote Francis Schaeffer). Life is short. Only a handful of people make it to the century mark. Those who do often spend their final years feeble in mind or body or both. Should we strive through the healthy lifestyle habits this blog advocates to avoid the inevitable—or at least to lengthen our days?

Writing to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul instructed church leaders to “prepare God’s people for works of service.” He told the Philippians, “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.” I believe we should care for our spirits, souls, minds and bodies so we can be competent, productive individuals who serve God by serving others. No one on earth has a perfect, pain free body; yet, the better we take care of our ourselves, the more mental, physical, emotional and, yes, spiritual health we’ll have to encourage and assist others as we march together toward death’s wide-open doors. Becky

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