My wife and I attended 3 funerals in the last 3 months.
And at each funeral, I thought of Ecclesiastes 7:2:
“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.”
In other words, it is better to go to a funeral than a party.
Why is this the case? A funeral makes you face the reality of death and forces you to examine what really matters in life. Thinking about our own deaths is actually a wise thing to do.
Let’s Talk about Death
My natural tendency is to fear death and to avoid it at all costs, but Scripture paints death in a much different light. Death is not something we should necessarily fear. Take a look at God’s perspective on the death of believers:
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).
Of all the words you would use to describe death, would “precious” ever be one of them? Yet to God, the death of His saints is precious because they get to dwell with Him. Paul echoes this when he says that death is gain for believers because we get to be with Christ, which is far better than being on earth (Phil. 1:21-24).
Scripture repeatedly refers to death as “sleep” (Dan. 12:2; 1 Thess. 4:14). I love this, because if I picture death being similar to taking a nap, then it doesn’t sound as scary! But ultimately we shouldn’t fear death because Christ has dominion over it and we are His children:
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
With that said, Scripture also presents a tension. Death has been defeated by Christ, and yet we still die. Death still stings. Mourning the loss of loved ones still hurts. But we have a promise that death will not reign forever. After we are resurrected, death will sting no more:
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (1 Cor. 15:51-54).
How Then Shall We Live?
What do we do in the meantime, knowing that our life on earth is short? Here are two practical things you can do today.
1. Number Your Days
Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). How often do we get consumed with things that don’t matter in the end? How often do we waste our days on eternally meaningless activities? If our days our numbered, why do we spend so little time on the things that God calls us to do?
We should take note of Moses’ prayer and number our days. Let’s assume that the average life expectancy is 70. If you are 20, then you have around 2,500 weekends left on this earth. If you are 30, you have around 2,000 weekends. If you are 40, then you have 1,500 left. At 50, you have 1,000 and at 60 you only have 500!
Currently, I am 27. If I die at 70, then I basically have 2,000 weekends left of my life. That’s not that many when you think about it. Life is short. Let’s number our days and spend the time we have left on things that matter.
2. Consider Yourself Dead Already
Obviously, if you are reading this, you are not physically dead. But an amazing truth of Scripture that believers often overlook is the fact that we have already died:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 ).
That’s right, you lost your life when God saved you. You were crucified with Jesus. That means your desires, ambitions, and plans for the future died too. Christ now gives you life and God’s will is what matters now.
So why not die to yourself today and allow Christ to live through you? Sure, it will be very hard and you might get discouraged. But remember this, even though you already died with Christ, you have already been raised too:
“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6 ).