Have there ever been times in your life that you felt like you were in complete control – like you were almost invincible or that nothing bad could ever happen to you? Those thoughts and feelings have entered my mind before. We can almost become proud in a way. Of course, we would never say it out loud but, in the quietness of our heart, we almost believe that we’re in charge and untouchable. Then something happens to us from out of left field that gives us a little reality check and causes our egos to come back to planet earth.
One of those moments entered my life a couple of weeks ago. I had just moved to Thailand to write for a Christian organization and was enjoying the exciting new Asian culture, the beautiful mountain ranges and incredible Thai food. Life couldn’t have been better. Some of my staff friends and I went to get a bite to eat at a local café after an amazing Night of Worship event for the staff and the children in our care. It was a powerful night. As I was driving home on my motorcycle, my front tire hit a small piece of metal in the road, which caused my tire to pop. I lost control and crashed, hitting my head and shoulder really hard on the concrete pavement. I then proceeded to slide across the pavement on my back for another 30 feet with only a t-shirt and jeans on. I felt dazed, but knew I hadn’t lost consciousness; thankfully, I was wearing a helmet! At this point, I could feel the many scrapes I had received from my fall, but I wasn’t sure if I had broken any bones yet. Adrenaline kicked in and I started yelling for help, but in my mind I thought to myself, “Who is going to understand a word I am saying? I live in Thailand!” Within seconds of wondering how I was going to get help, some of my friends happened to be driving home the same way that I went and were able to get me home and bandaged up. I eventually went to the hospital a couple of days later because my shoulder was really bothering me. But, praise God, I had no broken bones.
Over the next several days, I reflected back on the accident and realized just how precious and fragile life can be. We are not as invincible as we think we are, and it takes close calls or near passes at death that make us appreciate the precious time we do have on earth and how quickly it can be over! The Bible says, “Yet you do not know the least thing about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are really but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears into thin air” (James 4:14 AMP). We have no guarantee of tomorrow and our time in this world is so short in the span of eternity.
The Bible also teaches us that our days are numbered. This means each one of us has a certain amount of time to invest wisely in this world. Jesus talks about this in a parable. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money” (Matthew 25:14-18 NLT). The master eventually came back and rewarded his servants based on how well each one invested his money. When we live indifferently to God and his plan for our lives and just go do whatever we want, we’re wasting valuable time that he has given us. And, just like the servant that buried the money the master gave him, in a sense we are not using the resources God has given us wisely. But, if we seek God and walk down the path He has marked out for us, and use the talents, resources, abilities and our time effectively for His purpose, we’re investing well. The master will be pleased with us. The sobbing truth this parable reveals is that we will all stand before God and give an account of what we’ve done with our lives. Even believers will be judged. They won’t be judged for salvation, but God will determine if they store up treasure in heaven according to their level of obedience in finishing the good works He asked them to do while on earth! Now that is humbling.
A good question to ask ourselves is: What are we living for? Are we living with an eternal perspective, or are we living for selfish gain? It is easy to convince ourselves that we’ll start living for God tomorrow or the next day, but tomorrow may never come! Today is the day to live for him. Start storing up treasure in heaven that will last for eternity. Close passes at death are actually good for us because they help us reevaluate whether we are really living for something that will matter in the end. Make the decision to live for God and invest wisely while you still can!