2005-12-30 - Ending a Year
Originally Published 2002-12-28
Genesis 25:8 And Abraham breathed his last and died in ripe old age, an old man and satisfied. He was gathered to his people.
I am going to give you a list of names that in normal circumstances would never be linked together. They have almost nothing in common, but they all have one thing in common. See if you can guess what they all share.
Alfred Henry "Freddy" Heineken (Beer), Dave Thomas (Wendy's), Princess Margaret, Waylon Jennings (Country Musician), Chuck Jones (Animator of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and others), Milton Berle (Actor), Queen Elizabeth, Dudley Moore (Actor), Robert Urich (Actor), Ruth Handler (Creator of the Barbie Doll), John Gotti (Mobster), Bill Blass (Fashion Designer), Darryl Kile (Baseball Pitcher), Ann Landers (Columnist), John Entwistle (Bass Player for the Rock Band, "The Who"), Ted Williams (Legendary Baseball Player), Johnny Unitas (Legendary Football Player), Walter Annenberg (Philadelphia Philanthropist), Steven Ambrose (Historian), James Coburn (Actor), and Joe Strummer on December 23, who was the lead singer for the influential English Punk band, "The Clash."
The above is kind of an odd mix. It would seem that they have little in common. But the one thing they do have in common is that they all died in 2002. I don't want to be the damper on your thoughts the day after Christmas, but rather, I would have you take a moment and look at the cross section of who is represented in this list. I have tried to pick out well-known names, but there are so many more names, not so well-known, who had an impact on our lives - and now they are gone.
I will ask you a question. Do you think that any one of these people named entered 2002 and thought, "I have less than 365 days to live"? Of course not. Should this not be a lesson for ourselves? At any moment, we could stand before Christ. I would not have made the list, but I was involved in a serious car crash this year that could have easily taken my life. The providence of God took it another way, but there is no promise that God's will might not call any one of us home in 2003, and yet we must all say that His will goes on with or without us.
The key is that in our remaining days of breath and life on earth, we must seek to live for Christ. I am sure that you know some of the names I listed above. Think about it, if you would. The phrase that "life goes on" is only somewhat true. At some point, life does not go on, and "it is appointed for men to die," Hebrews 9:27.
So this devotional is a downer, but I do it every year. I hope it is more of a wake up call than a downer. Let us resolve to live this year for Jesus Christ. Let us seek to grow in grace this year and live up to the mercy and wonder that is ours in Jesus Christ. 2003 is a new year for us all, and by God's grace, I hope we all make it further, but as our list above illustrates, some will meet eternity this year, and we ought to all keep that in our thoughts. I wish you God's grace in the coming year.