The Empty Words of Men Who Leave the World
Death comes to all people at God’s appointed time (Heb 9:27). The Bible teaches that God’s intimate knowledge of each person includes the precise number of his or her days (Ps 139:16). Job says of man, “Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with Thee, and his limits Thou has set so that he cannot pass (Job 14:5).”
Men loathe God’s determined providence because it obviously super-cedes their own self-determination. Imagining they can change God’s design, His will, and His decree for them personally, men embark upon the plans they have made (Jer 18:12). They speak of luck, chance, fortune, fluke, accidents, and that which randomly befalls their intentional movements.
Sinful people obsess about themselves, thinking they are creative. Their lives are selfish expressions, with themselves as the perennial subject. They imagine the story of life itself has them cast in the leading role. Their favorite pronouns are personal, singular, and possessive.
Narcissism is evident in their expressions near the end of life, too. Given the opportunity to see the end is near, they cannot help but reflect on what their life was about. Often this is the best place to observe the so-called wisdom of men, especially if the departing character was a thinker.
There is no time like the present to express something of the wisdom of God, which is Christ (1 Cor 1:24). It is the sweetest witness to contemplate the departing saint’s words of reflection. A lifetime of savoring the Word of God can produce a tender, seasoned, utterance of the supremacy of Christ in one’s life.
Life is a vapor (Jas 4:14). Without Christ, it is a life of vanity (Eccl 1:2). Each soul either received Christ in the heart, as heard from one’s mouth, or one’s testimony is void of Christ.
The world determines who deserves the spotlight, especially in death. Vanity is the order of the day, as men are aggrandized, despite the omnipresence of God. Their penchant is to steal glory from God. Some lived crazy. Some lived intentionally. Some were free spirits, and others were meticulous controllers to their last breath. Regardless of who has the spotlight on the day of their death, man’s objective is to keep the focus off of Christ.
The self-absorbed life of a man closes with a self-centered obituary, “Look at me and what I did with my few, brief years upon the earth!” The empty Christ-less life is prevalent, as noted in the final statements of most peoples’ lives.
The token references to religious affiliation are certainly not to be dissuaded, “Bob went home to be with his Lord…He was a member of Christ Community Church.” Ok, yes, but where are the bold proclamations?
We live in a world hostile toward God (Jn 7:7; 15:18–19, 24–25; Rom 1:30). Christians tend to shy away from confrontation with the world, as it pertains to Jesus Christ. What a blessing it would be to have the full witness of Christ in both, eulogy and obituary.
Does the world know you are a Christian? Has your life been a bold witness for your Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer? There must be something better than the same old selfish reflection.
There may be no better opportunity in one’s life than to end with the boldest witness and testimony of Christ Jesus our Lord. May God deliver us from the empty words of dead men, offering their farewell to dead men. Speak life, and speak it boldly, now and at the hour of your death. Amen.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 24, 2021