Chapter 51 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.
This week’s question: “What is your life?” (James 4.14).
This week’s question, even in its simplicity, contains all kinds of other questions.
Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where will we go when we leave this world? What is our purpose? Is this all there is?
Hawkins points out that our tendency is to focus on the here and now. In many cases we live as if we were never going to leave this world: taking vitamins, worrying about the quality of our food, cosmetics, plastic surgery … It reminded me of something one of our Pastors, Larry Lamb, said recently in talking about eternal things. He said, “Just keep eating your bark and birdseed and maybe you’ll live a few years longer!”
It’s not wrong, of course, to eat wisely or to take care of our health, but more important is how we live and prepare spiritually. Do we live with eternity in mind?
James not only asked the question, “What is your life?” He also answered it, “It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (Jas. 5.14b).
In light of eternity, even the longest life is brief. And the writer of Hebrews said this:
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9.27).
Peter Marshall, former pastor and chaplain of the United States Senate (1902– 1949) once told an Arabic fable that illustrates this certainty. A merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market. When he returned, the servant was pale and trembling. Clearly upset, he said to his master, “Down in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd. When I turned around, I saw that it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Please, lend me a horse that I may hasten to Samarra and hide there so Death will not find me.”
The merchant gave him a horse, and the servant galloped away in haste. Later the merchant went to the marketplace and saw Death standing in the crowd. He went over to her and asked, “Why did you frighten my servant this morning? Why did you make a threatening gesture?” Death replied, “That was not a threatening gesture. I was only startled and surprised to see him in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra!”*
Each of us has our own appointment in Samarra, but if we have put our faith and trust in Christ, this appointment should not cause fear but rejoicing. Our hope in Christ enables us to sing, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”
What is your life? Only a vapor! Are you ready for the next?
Next week’s question: “Is anyone among you sick?” (James 5.14).
Last week’s question: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (James 2.14). Read it here.
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