When I was working on the Bible portion of my degree in music ministry, Thursdays were my deadline. Some professors required assignments to be submitted by 9 PM, and so I got them sent by 8:59. Others said midnight—and with five minutes to spare, I would slide across the finish line. Now, I only have a few music classes to finish up, but guess what? No weekly deadline. And with a full roster of music students, serious health problems that Mama has been grappling with for the last year, and all the genius ideas and important ministry and necessary duties that call, finishing has been pushed to the back-burner.
Funny how life is like that.
People achieve the outlandish under a time limit. Of course, we strive for organization and shedjules: to finish things whether there’s a due date or not. Give any responsible person a task and a deadline, and it most likely will happen. It’s why music teachers hold recitals, paper mills have boiler audits, the IRS claims April 15th, schools test, bloggers set days for blogging, and farmers get the tomatos pulled before frost. It’s why we strive for goals.
It’s the benefit of death.
Each one of us is living with an expiration date that trumps library book due dates, marathon training programs, and referendum signature-gathering deadlines. We are born with a ticking clock over our heads, and the older we get, the more we realize: this life isn’t forever. But we should be glad for death—we should embrace it. It has no sting anymore; it holds no fear for the person who has surrendered his life to Christ. When my grandma was a little girl, her pastor explained death to her in a way that resonates to this day: “Death is just coming home from the chilly winter outside. You pass from outside to inside, and you take off your coat.”
Imagine how indolent and restless our lives would become if we lived forever, or even just for the better part of a millenium. I don’t envy Mephibosheth and Seth, though I know God sovereignly planned each one of their centuries just as He sovereignly ordains each one of my decades. I will live forever—after death, in a beautiful state of glorifying God.
For now, on this side of death, I have a deadline looming above me. It’s not a dark cloud. It’s an energizing thought—one day of my calendar is circled in red, and there will be no more days on earth after that. So much to do, so little time. It’s the story of my life, and probably the story of yours. Aren’t you glad we work well under deadlines?
Photo Credit: Fulvio Bisca