Death and Dying Reminds Me to Live in Time

This is the length of Abraham’s life: 175 years. He took his last breath and died at a ripe old age, old and contented, and he was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. This was the field that Abraham bought from the Hittites. Abraham was buried there with his wife Sarah. After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who lived near Beer-lahai-roi.
-Genesis 25:7-11

My step-dad, Jack died yesterday.  I am thinking about death and dying.  These are some thoughts of mine, in no particular order.

Death is part of life.  99.9% of people die, so it is not a surprise or completely unexpected.  It is sometimes a complete shock because it is too soon.

But, death always seems too soon, because we don't want to lose our loved one.

Death can come at any time during life.  Death is not logical.  Death makes no sense to the living.

When death comes, we survey the life; seeing birth, life and death.  The one who died was born and had a life.  When death comes, we look at the life that they had.

When death comes, the person leaves behind a legacy.  These are their children or the deposit that they left in others.

There are two sayings: "You can't take it with you", and, "Store up for yourself treasure in heaven".  What we do with the resources we have and our time and energy, can result in permanent rewards in heaven.

The things we feel and the things we do when someone we love is dying or has died, are because we love them.  I have observed that everyone grieves differently.

Believers have always been able to face death and dying because of hope.  Our God is the living God.  We have always believed that when our bodies give out, that our souls or spirits are still alive and in God's care.

We do say goodbye, but we also say, I hope to see you again.  There will be a family reunion.

If we lose a loved one, for whom we are uncertain about their faith; we have hope and peace that God will take care of them.  On the one hand, we do need to warn people to put their faith in God, while they are alive.  But if someone dies without faith, we can trust God with them.

The same trust that we have towards God with our loved one who has experienced salvation, we also have toward God for our loved one who did not express a salvation in this life.  We do have intense sorrow, but with hope and trust in God, in deep humility and awe.

Death reminds us of life.  When I see death, I decide and go forth in how I want to live.

Death reminds me that time is limited.  I do not want to waste time.

Whatever I do, it is not to pass the time, but to redeem the time.  Whether I read, watch something, eat food, go somewhere, do something, or be with someone: I want it to be in-time, not passing-time.

I want to spend time, spend my time wisely, as a limited, highly valuable asset.  I want to multiply my time by redeeming my time.  I do not want to wait for time, but do things at this time, now.

I believe in waiting, but the question each day is, "what can I do now?"  I believe the answer has to do with love: love God, love myself, and love my neighbor.

I don't have time for time wasters, so I don't want anything that is a waste of time, because time is very valuable to me.

In the world, there are people who "do all they can and can all they can get", and then there are people, "who are waiting to die".  These are both extremes that I do not want to be.

I want to go deeper, deeper here, now, in everything that I can go deeper with; starting with God.  This is where I think redeeming the time starts.

Jesus is my example of this.  Engaged Christians, might think this is true, "be like Jesus", as you live your life.  But do we only focus on Jesus miraculous birth and then his last three or so years?

What if the pattern that we really want to follow is Jesus whole life, of which over 90% was the part we don't know much about?  We learn about ministry and discipleship from Jesus ministry years, which were three or so years.

I mentioned redeeming the time, and making the most of our time.  Now look at Jesus, who only left home and went out to preach, for his last three or so years.  His time before that was not wasted or unproductive.

There is that saying, "Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans".  Death teaches us to live life in time as it comes with those you are living with.

Having goals is great.  But I must live towards my goal or my dream, in time.  Today, at this time, God is preparing me for the future.

There is another saying, "Begin with the end in mind".  If I want that or to be that, then today I have to learn or be trained in this.

Another thought about life and death, is that most all achievement comes through risk taking.

To live is to risk or exercise faith.  We must exercise faith in a risk taking fashion, just to stay afloat in life; and we must take bigger risks, to live an abundant, fulfilling life.

And when we take risks, we might fail.  Some failure is guaranteed.  But God loves 'riskers' and failures.  Believe me when I say that God would say to most of us, "I wish you failed more".

What God means by that is that he loves it when we take a risk, in faith.  He loves that I risked and failed at that, that, and that.  God does not love winners, but loves failures.

When we take a risk, in time, in our living; we will often offend people.  We don't mean to, but people will take offense at us for risking or exercising faith.  And it is ok and normal.

People have been calling others crazy for trying something new or different, throughout time.

When you try something new, taking a risk in faith, and you might fail, and God loves 'riskers': when you step out like that, you may be opposed, but not only by people who say you are crazy, but by people who will actually try to stop you, like you are doing something wrong.

This is normal, and it happened to Jesus.  His family said he was crazy and he was opposed all over.  Be encouraged that it happened to him.

Death reminds me of living in time.  The goal is not to do more, but to live deeper.  Rest and recreation are a big part of the fulfilling life, that is productive and rewarding in love.

I still think that life is about how we love, being loved and loving others.  Some of us say "I love you" a lot, which is fine and good.  But there are people who's life story is doing loving things for people, in sacrificial love.  That is the eternally rewarding kind of living that I aspire to, that I saw displayed in my step-dad's life.