Each December when World Magazine recaps the year, I turn to the list of deaths. Reading what people did or how they died reminds me I still have time. It also raises questions about the finite human experience.
I noticed a few entries on the list. NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. Actor Robert Conrad did his own stunts. Kenny Rogers is “The Gambler” no more. Ken Osmond played Eddie Haskell on “Leave It to Beaver.” John Lewis marched with Martin Luther King Jr. Herman Cain died with COVID. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was known by her initials. Eddie Van Halen was a Rock and Roll guitarist.
The passing of time and people increases the stream of probing thoughts that demand some bandwidth. I’ll borrow the questions that Leo Tolstoy said nearly drove him to suicide. “What will become of what I do today or tomorrow? Why do I live? Why do I wish for anything or do anything? Is there any meaning in my life that will not be annihilated by the inevitability of death?”
An awareness of the passing of time is a defining and sometimes alarming feature of the human experience. The year changes. A life passes. The mirror startles. An intrusive thought emerges that time never stops ticking along. You can’t stop it or even slow it down. What you can do is make the most of your appointed time, however uncertain its boundaries may be. How? The One through whom all things came into being, the One who is life and light (John 1:4) is the source of transcendent and timeless human meaning. God created humans to know and glorify him. That has unique meaning for your life.
After his Resurrection, Jesus walked with two friends toward Emmaus. They didn’t recognize him. As they approached the village, “they urged him, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them” (Luke 24:29). While with them he revealed truth in a life-changing way. He infused their lives with clarity, meaning, and destiny because they had seen the One who died yet lives, the One who made time yet releases you from its restraints.
If the Lord tarries, your name and a brief description of your life could appear in a publication. People may read and learn a little about you. Your loved ones will remember you. Will they know that you enjoyed walking with Jesus even as the evening time approaches? Did you travel this sod with God-given purpose? When the day is over and you no longer journey in the land of the dying, by faith in the Lord Jesus you will stay with him in the land of the living where time is no more.