Friday, February 27, 2015

Send Not To Know For Whom The Bell Tolls

This life is short, death takes just a moment, but eternity is forever.

All normal people are concerned about their own and their family's welfare .... health, happiness, life, children, resources and other needs. But not many seem concerned about the single most important need of every person ever born. That need supersedes all other human needs. It is the need of eternity
after these short, temporal lives, on earth, end. What then? Many years ago, as a young pastor, I was visiting a gentleman who had sought my counsel about a troubled marriage. After he had poured out all the difficulties between him and his wife, I asked him what his goals were. He said his goal for the next year was to finish getting his college degree. "What then," I asked. He said he planned to get a job with a certain large corporation. "What then" I repeated. He explained how he hoped to work his way up the corporate ladder. "What then," I asked again. He said he wanted to buy a home and have children. "What then?" He continued to relate to me all his hopes and dreams and I continued to respond, "What then?" finally he said, "After retirement we want to travel." What then?  I guess I will die". "And what then", I asked. He was silent for a time and humbly answered ... "I don't know."  So, what would your answer be to that question ... "What then?"

It is a strange thing that most of humanity is concerned about living this short few years in the flesh but very little about eternity ... forever. We all know we will one day die and we do all in our power to stay healthy and alive. But time will bring us all to the moment of our death. What then? God's word warns us of that certain moment .... "For we must needs die ...." 2 Sam.14:14. Suffering Job knew his eventual fate was death ... "For I know that thou wilt bring me to death." Job 20:23.  David also accepted the fact ..."... Wise men die, likewise the fool." Psm.49:10.  Wise King Solomon had immense power and had need of nothing in this life, but meekly admitted, "There is no man that hath power in the day of death." Ecc. 8:8. The Apostle Paul plainly declared it in Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned...." The book of Hebrews assigns death to God's book of appointments ... "... It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment...." Heb.9:27. 

No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own or of thy friend's were. Each man's death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, It tolls 
for thee.  By John Donne

So think not that when the old church bell tolls the death of someone in your city, that it has to be a friend or acquaintance or neighbor or perchance a stranger.... No, it tolls for us all. We all must die ... and will .... "It tolls for me ... and it tolls for thee".  So consider not just your life, but your death, and
your eternity, while you yet have time to come to Christ. RB