Upon arriving back from visiting my parents’ gravesite, many soul-searching thoughts have swirled in my mind. I was starkly reminded that the length of our earthly life is a grain of sand in a pile of sand a mile wide and a mile high as compared to eternity. This life is short. I also recalled that my collegiate teaching mentor would encourage me to remember that we are sojourners and aliens on this earth on our way to the Celestial City. This is not our home. My mind has been preoccupied, considering more seriously than ever before the most significant matters of life.
If this life is really just the blink of an eye, then why are we here, and what’s the point? Thinking deeply about what this life is all about is an essential endeavor. Oh, the great truths that would come forth from the grave. This all led me to a contemplative and reflective question that I cannot get out of my head.
If the dead could speak, what would they say? No, actually, what piercing shout of absolute wisdom would come forth from beneath the marble headstones?
The answer: Please, please, listen carefully! Do not be tempted and misled by the hollow cravings of earthly life. Beware, for the cares, counterfeit desires, and selfishness of life are deceiving! Identify the many meaningless things that capture your heart and affections that result in misplaced worship and allegiance and, in the end, may result in the possibility of eternal separation from God.
Yes, I think that those would be the first things they would say to us because the dead truly know the truth, right? They have lived it—or you might say, died it.
The Scriptures tell us that our primary calling in this life is to know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and to live for and worship Him alone. With no rivals in sight, absolute fidelity is to be given only to Christ. Through a personal relationship with Christ, we are extended grace, the forgiveness of our sins, and eternal life. Grace is a free gift. Jesus shares with us that the pursuit of life, our very sole purpose, is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, and all of our mind.
What a challenge, with all the elements of life that clamor for our devotion! What is it for you? Is it pleasure, material possessions, money, sex, fame, personal fitness, prestige, a hobby, or a comfortable life? With eternity in view, what is accomplished by chasing these things? If we are honest with ourselves, they ultimately deliver very temporary and unsatisfying happiness. There are so many idols that grab our attention and loyalty.
All that we do, say, and think are to honor Christ, as we live our lives before the throne. God, and those calling out from the grave, want us to do a candid and transparent look in the mirror. Are we “in love” with Christ? Does this single love drive the essence of who we are and our daily priorities? A pastor once said that our greatest fear should be being successful in life at things that don’t really matter.
The message from Christ and a reminder from the grave is clear: this life is not about you or me. We must decrease, and Christ must increase. Christ says in Matthew 10:39 that “whoever finds his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Listen carefully: the dead speak.
Dr. Jim Thrasher is the Senior Advisor to the Vice President for Student Recruitment and the coordinator of the Institute for Faith and Freedom working group on calling.