What is death? Do you ever take time to ponder the thought of death as a believer? Sometimes, when we hear of death and see our beloved ones come and depart this life, what comes to our minds? Of course, many of us begin to wonder about the wonders of heaven or the horrors of hell. At least, for some there is quite a certainty that there is life beyond the grave and would like to spend their lives preparing them for an eternal dwelling in the presence of the Lord. For some, heaven and hell are biblical myths invented by zealous religionists who sought to scare people who refused to embrace their gospel messages. For some, heaven is the eternal dwelling place, the final abode of the saved and hell awaits the sinners who will live their lives completely banished from God’s presence. Thus, they have sought to soothe men’s consciences by providing a better option for hell. They have invented the doctrine of purgatory and sought to cause others to believe that no matter what kind of life you have lived without God, there is a second chance after death, yet, they seem to have forgotten that after death, there comes judgment and there is no second chance beyond the grave (Hebrews 9:27).
Just a few days ago, I attended a funeral of one of the finest Christian women I have ever met. She graduated into glory at the tender age of 43, leaving behind the husband of 18 years and three kids. True to the text, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15). Ever since, I have never attended such type of home going ceremony. It was filled with praise, testimony and good confessions. It forced me to look at my life and have an honest introspection of the real me. You see, God speaks with us in different ways and by different means. A serious heart searching was needful for me. Was it the thought of death or its fear that gripped me? Was it the thought of loss or grief? Yes, to be honest, but those things did not give me much preoccupation. It was the issue of the legacy of saints, what you leave behind when you are called to glory. This was a turning point in my life.
As I sat there listening to the wonderful testimonies of how Monica has touched lives of hundreds and thousands through her service to the body of Christ and community, I had to take a serious reflection of my life. What have I been doing for Christ? For the brief moment I have been a Christian, how have I lived for Christ? Has my manner of life and conduct contributed to the cause of Christ? Have I been selfish, have I been whining and complaining? Have I reached souls for Christ? Have I sung praises to the Lord? Has my mouth brought forth good and pleasant words full of grace to the hearers? If not, how have I spent my short life on earth? The days of my pilgrimage have been filled with what good contributions to Christ? Have I been true to the calling?
Sometimes, we live as if we have an eternity to live. Yet, we usually forget that life on earth is like a shadow or a mist. Our pilgrimage on earth is but for a few days. We are like flowers, everything is passing away; everything is fading. This is the reason why the Scriptural admonition remains, “Teach us to number our days…” Inasmuch as we celebrate birthdays, we forget that the sands of time are filling up fast for us and soon time will be no more. For most people, we live carelessly with no thought of the morrow. Like drunkards we spent our days hoping tomorrow will be a different day. We get conceited, proud and boastful with great dreams and visions while we neglect the present. We try to envision and live in the future, but no one knows what a day tomorrow will bring. Thus, it is vain to imagine that you will be a better person tomorrow. Sometimes we wait until it is too late. What are you doing with your life now is what really matters. Do you have a spiritual legacy to live behind? Do you have something that will follow you into your eternal dwellings? The Spirit said, “Blessed are those that die in the Lord from now, their works will follow them.” Are you building a spiritual legacy or your pilgrimage on earth is just vanity?
Do you seek peace with others? Do you care to help the needy and the socially disadvantaged? How have you been using your riches and wealthy? What about your body? Has it been the temple of God indwelt by the Spirit? Have you given your life to Christ? Is he the Lord and Master of your life? Do you seek opportunities to serve others, to bring joy and happiness to others? What you are doing with your life matters today and have great implications for you on the last day and worse still, on the Day of Judgment. Surely, salvation is not by works and one cannot expect good deeds to deliver one from the ay of death or judgment, for judgment will be based on whether you have accepted Christ or not. But, there is another day of reckoning where God would ask you to give an account of how you have lived and walked on earth. Those who have done well will be rewarded and the evil doers will be recompensed for their wrong doing.
What more should I say? In this world, we have seen many hardworking parents striving to leave an inheritance for their kids. Children benefit from the wise savings of their parents. Sadly, all of that is in the form of material things which neither profit nor save one’s soul. But, we should be concerned about the kind of spiritual legacy that we leave for our children, our families and churches. If you look in the religious world today, many people have been led astray because some false teachers left behind them a plethora of wrong teachings. That was their spiritual legacy; they left something to read and circulated far and wide. Some have been voluminous authors, some great errant preachers but behold, their evil legacy is with us today. But the question is: where is the heritage of the righteous?
I think many church leaders will live anointed cloths, holy water and holy oils for their followers since that’s all they can give. Many believers will leave nothing for other believers. But I like the example of the apostles who left for us a godly heritage through their works and words. It is because of the spiritual legacy they left as followers and Disciples of Christ that the church has prevailed today. They have written their teachings and they have come down to us and through their exhortations, we now have hope. Dear reader, life on earth is too short. All that we do for other causes except the cause of Christ mean` nothing for eternity.
Some have good reputations within societies, but their private lives are like filthy rags before the Lord. Self-righteousness and religious endeavors does not profit in the day of wrath. What benefit does a person have if all the years God has given you on this planet will send you to a Christless hell where you are banished from the presence of the Lord? Why not begin today by making a commitment to give your life to Christ if you have never done so before? Are you a backslider, someone who has wandered far away from home? Oh sinner come home, the Lord will abundantly pardon. It’s only the people of this world who will not forgive and delete, but the Lord is gracious and merciful. He hears the prayer of the humble and penitent sinner.
Have you been playing church and not sure of your stand? There is no room for lukewarmness; either you are hot or cold. But there is good news for you, the Lord is calling you to be separate and come be a holy priesthood for our Lord who has redeemed us with His precious blood. You cannot leave a godly legacy behind if you are ungodly. The first step is coming to the Lord. Then, demonstrate your faith by your works. Time is closing on us and the coming of the Lord will be soon, only those things the righteous did for the Lord will remain. All other things that were done outside of Christ will be tried and tested by fire and they will burn like chaff. The Lord calls us and wants us to leave a godly heritage.
As I conclude these thoughts, my mind is thinking of the great cloud of witnesses that beckons us, bidding us and cheering us as we run this journey with perseverance, looking unto Christ Jesus, the hope of glory, author and finisher of our faith. May the Lord grant you grace and mercy so that your walk on earth won’t be in vain! Seek to serve the Lord; seek to do good and it shall be well for the righteous. Blessings!