He was known and loved by many people, including me. He had been a high school teacher, coach, and principal, as well as a business man.
His body had been ravaged by disease, but his mind was sharp, his heart was big, and his love for his family and the Lord was quite evident. He will be missed.
Though I don’t like news like this, it does serve a useful purpose. It’s rather sobering. It reminds me of my own mortality. Unless I am a part of the last generation on earth when Jesus returns, I will die.
We say, “If I die,” but it’s really not a matter of “if.” It’s a matter of “when.”
George Bernard Shaw put it this way, “The universal statistic in regard to death is the same—one out of one does.” I remember reading something like that in the Bible, too. A long time before Shaw, the Hebrews’ writer recorded, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes the judgment” (Heb. 9:27, ESV).
When someone dies, we often say, “Well, it was just his time to go,” as if God has some kind of big cosmic calendar with the date when everyone will die on it. I don’t believe that is the case, and that’s not what Hebrews 9:27 means. The “appointment” is not when or how we will die, it is the fact that we will die. Death itself is the appointment.
I realize that talking about death might be unsettling for some. I’m not suggesting that we go around saying, “I’m going to die. I’m going to die. I’m going to die.” That is unhealthy and counter-productive.
On this journey, however, I want us to realize that we aren’t going to live here forever. We do not have a lock on life We are all terminal. As the old song reminds us, “This world is not my home; I’m just a passing thru.”
The reality of death makes me think about life and how I should live it. It makes me appreciate every day that I am alive and the people and things that make life meaningful. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying life, so grasp it, live it, make the most of it.
But, it also makes me wonder about my legacy. How will I be remembered? What will the preacher say at my funeral? The time to think about those things is now, while we still have the opportunity to do something about them.