2000-01-10 - One Thing in Common
Joel 2:32, "And everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved … "
Gene Siskel, Stanley Kubrick, Joe DiMaggio, Cal Ripken Sr., Dana Plato, Mel Torme, DeForest Kelley, John F. Kennedy Jr., King Hassan II, Allen Funt, Jim "Catfish" Hunter, George C. Scott, Wilt Chamberlain, Payne Stewart, Walter Payton, and Madeline Kahn.
What each one of these individuals has in common is that they died last year. The threshold of eternity is upon them where even just a year ago, they were all living. Eternity is a sobering reality for all of us. And while the door to eternity has been opened for us peacefully, for all who rest in Christ, the solemn message of life is that it does not go on forever.
For Paul, to live was Christ and to die was gain. (Philippians 1:21) Paul was not a "super" Christian, although God did use him greatly. Paul was a mere man, and there is no need for us to super spiritualize him above anyone else. He has simply left us a good example and profound insights into the living of the Christian life. As God used him, so also He can use us.
The gospel teaches us where we should flee for peace from all the troubles of this life. We know that we should flee to the fountain of all charity and support, Jesus Christ. In a song of praise, the prophet Isaiah (12:3), tells of drawing water from the wells of salvation. It is this deep well that a Christian is to drink from. Coming not in the strength of ourselves, but in faith.
This life is spiritual warfare. Some of us are valiant fighters, and others are less useful in Christ's cause. But the standard is there for us and the length of our battle is really not that long, seventy years for each of us (maybe) and we are done. The Christian in this holy war can comfort himself that the battle with sin and evil will not last forever. God will end the evil or our days.
Then we will no longer be soldiers in the battle but purified through Christ's work on our behalf. Then we will have long white robes, palms in our hands and crowns on our head. As the words of Paul remind us,
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7,8.
Soli Deo Gloria,