Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Based Upon Ecclesiastes 9:4-7
“There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!” The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!” (Ecclesiastes 9:4–7, NLT).
There are at least two things all of us are subject to—death and paying taxes. Whether we agree with them or not, whether we like it or not, these two are pretty much inevitable, with few exceptions. Sure, I can gauge my income to be just beneath the poverty line, so I have zero income tax liability, but there’s this little thing called sales tax that gets most of us. Sure, I could move to a jurisdiction where there is no sales tax, but then there’s this little thing called property tax. Sure, I could choose to rent instead of own to avoid that, but even if I do, my landlord who does pay taxes, will probably shift at least some of that burden over to me.
Then there’s this issue of death. While many people mistakenly believe that our lives go on-and-on, simply moving from one form to another or from one dimension to another, the Bible is clear that these bodies are breaking down like all else in nature. And, eventually, we all will die. It’s true that you could be the exception to the rule. Since we are living so close to the Second Coming of Jesus, you or I could be among those whom Paul and John saw who will be still alive when He comes, but apart from that, we will all die. No matter how much Botox we inject, how many miles per day we jog, how much organic food we consume, or how many pounds we lose, we will all die.
Since that is the case, we have decisions to make: How will we make use of the time we have left? Whom will we help? What positive impact will we make? How will we choose to best serve our God? What amends will we make with those we may have hurt in the past? What plans will we make for after the Lord returns? Since our life down here is a tax-ridden vapor, which is here today, and potentially gone later on today, it is our duty to do our level best to make a lasting, positive impact on the lives around us that are in the same predicament as we are.
If I ended this thought here, it might be kind of dismal, but there is some light at the end of this tunnel. While we all are subject to death, we all will be resurrected one day too. The Bible says that, “…those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:2–3, RSV).
So, the question is: Since we are all subject to death, for which resurrection are we preparing? Will we waste our short time on earth in foolish, evil things, preparing for the resurrection of condemnation? Or, will we invest our short time here in submission to God, taking heed to all that He says to us, preparing ourselves and others for the resurrection of eternal bliss?