Happy New Year! You Might Die in 2015...

Happy New Year!!!

As is tradition, this time of year is a time of year in which people take inventory of their lives and often make new resolutions for the coming year.

"I'm going to lose weight, save more money, and be a better husband!"  

But one thing I've noticed that is common amongst New Years resolutions is that most, if not all resolutions that we make presume that our lives will continue for the entire year... and then some.  Few, if any of us, consider that we might actually die before the year is out.

I know for most of us, we aren't too worried about dying.  We are young-ish, in relatively good health, and the riskiest behavior most of us engage in is probably driving 10 MPH over the speed limit on the interstate.

Yet if you were to survey the obituaries from the past year, you would discover a lot of people who celebrated the arrival of 2014, that had no clue whatsoever that they were going to die before the 2015 ball drop.  According to the most recent statistics by the CDC, approximately 2.5 million people in the United States will probably die in the coming year.  There is a chance, even if seemingly small, you may be among them.  The very next funeral you attend may be your own.

As I was reading through the book of James today, I couldn't help but be reminded of the temporary nature of life, and how not a single one of us is promised tomorrow.

In James 4:13-17, we read about a couple businessmen who were a bit self-assured about their dealings, and with confidence, they made projections about how in the coming year they would expand their business into new markets and make a handsome profit in the process.  If we met such men today, we would probably praise them as being great leaders in business world and in the church.  They would probably be made deacons, and asked to speak at the occasional conference.

The apostle James has less than kind words for such men.  Far from praising them for their ability to "dream big," and to trust in God for their future, James sees prophetically through such speaking and calls such "positive" forward-thinking for what it really is: "arrogance," and "evil."

Such thinking, which was just as common as it was back then as it is today, is arrogant and evil because such thinking is actually terribly small and short-sighted, in spite of its many cheerleaders who say otherwise.  It's arrogant and evil because it refuses to step back and look at life as God sees our days.

Such thinking produces pop-culture philosophies of life that rhyme with YOLO.

I heard a pastor once say, "Within 15 minutes of them putting you in the ground, somebody will be asking somebody else to pass the bucket of fried chicken."  The truth of the matter is that as James says, "Life is but a vapor!"  You are here one moment, and gone the next.

Within a few years of dying, there will hardly be any evidence that you ever even existed.  Within a few years, people will stop saying your name.  And within 100 years, nobody will probably even own a copy of your photograph.

Of course, such truths we know subconsciously.  Ten out of ten people die, and we all know that we will be among the dead one day.  But we try to leave such thinking in our subconscious.  We try our hardest to insulate ourselves from the thought of death.  We feel it helps us to truly live our lives by not thinking about our eventual demise.  Instead we think about "living for the moment."

But, Biblically speaking, living for the moment is about the dumbest thing you can do, and there is no virtue or wisdom in it.  It's thinking born out of arrogance, that deludes us into living for "the now," instead of living our lives in light of eternity.  It robs us of the ability to live our lives out of a greater eternal purpose.  And in robbing us of a greater eternal purpose and sense of destiny, we engage in worthless works that will not survive the grave.  Instead, we damn ourselves to do nothing in our lives beyond our ability to concern ourselves with things that moths ultimately consume, and things that thieves eventually steal and make their own.

Therefore, as you go about the New Year making goals and resolutions for 2015, consider the very real possibility that this year may very well be your last.  And knowing such a possibility, make it your goal to be involved in the things that really matter in this life and the next, and to engage in the things that Jesus said will produce something that ultimately endures throughout all of eternity.

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