Forced To Think About It
There are some subjects which we rather naturally avoid thinking about. Even the most commonplace subject we shy from, if it is disagreeable or causes us discomfort. Death is just such a subject. Even though it is as common as birth and as inevitable as the tick of the next second, many of us can be brought to think of death seriously only when it forces itself upon us.
Such was the case when word was received only today of the death of two more close friends of mine - both gospel preachers - Forrest Moyer and Bill McCuistion. Here were two good men, neither of whom could be considered as "old." They had become household names among the many brethren whose lives they had touched. Yet, in the fleeting of a moment, they are gone. Their familiar forms and cheerful voices remain now only in our memories. We are reminded again that we, too, are mortals and that we all must, sooner or later, depart this life.
Christians should not be forced to think of death; rather, we should calmly contemplate its certain approach regularly. From the time one is baptized into Christ, he is considering death and the ones who have died. I am convinced that this is the point of 1 Corinthians 15:29: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" If there were no resurrection of the dead, what would be the point of being baptized? So in a very real sense, the penitent believer is baptized for (with a view to) the dead. Then all through our life as a Christian, we should live with the consciousness of the fact that "it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Like Paul, we need to cultivate an appreciation for the truth that "our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20), which will be realized after this life is over. As the years pile the infirmities of the flesh upon us, we should find ourselves thinking of death - not as some morbid, fearful specter; but, rather, as an anticipated, planned-for event which will not find us unprepared. May God help us to this end.