I am still very young in the pastorate. Twenty two months give or take as a senior minister. In those 22 months I have performed 8 funerals or memorial services. Some have been church members. Some have been complete strangers. One was a dear high school friend. But one thing I have learned is that life is a fragile, yet splendored thing.
Scripture tells us that our lives are fleeting. James 4:14 reminds us that “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Moses asks the Lord in Psalm 90:12,”So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
The last memorial service I performed was just this weekend. It was for a dear saint and wonderful member of our church. She passed due to complications with a brain aneurysm that occurred a few weeks ago. Many people in our church are grieving her loss, but we also have a hope that the world does not have; that hope is that one day we will see her again and we will both be full of life. It is true of any saint who has passed from this world to the next, the dying has ended and the living has now begun.
What about you? Hebrews 9:27 tells us that … “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Now, that judgment could be a one of two different types of judgment. One type of judgment is based on our righteousness or right-standing before the Lord. Obviously we all fall terribly short of God’s perfect standard (Romans 3:23). But for those found in Christ, we have received His righteousness (Romans 4:22-25; 2 Corinthians 5:21). So for those who are in Christ, we are declared righteous before a Holy God because of His work. Those who are not found in Christ will stand before God guilty of sin and falling short of His glory. The wages of that sin is death (Romans 6:23)and thus anyone not found in Christ will spend all of eternity with God’s wrath upon him (John 3:36).
But there is another type of judgment. This one is reserved specially for God’s people. 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us ”For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” This judgment is not based on our salvation or even our righteousness; this comes from our sanctification and our perseverance. What have you done for Christ since your salvation? Are you still a baby Christian? Have you matured in your knowledge, sanctification, giving and understanding? Are your works being done for the glory of God? These are the questions we must ask ourselves if we are already under the blood of Christ.
I heard a quote a long time ago and I’m sure you’ve heard it before: On your tombstone will be the day you were born, the day you died and a dash in between the two. What are you doing with your dash?