The end came quickly, and unexpectedly.

He was an acquaintance of mine…trim, active, alive.  Faithful to his wife, his family, his church.

And a good servant of Jesus.  But none of that can delay the inevitable.

His time came on a sunny afternoon in the garden.  Just a few weeks back.  One moment he was alive.  Then, he bent over to pull out a garden weed…and he was gone.

No fanfare.  No goodbyes.  A crumpled body on the ground.  Lifeless.  Opportunity now passed.  Eternity sealed.

How true it is…

“The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”   (Psalm 103:15-17) 

My brother’s good friend and colleague passed away suddenly this summer while hiking on vacation.  It was a shocker for everyone.

Two years ago five of us went out riding on our motorcycles one Sunday afternoon, and only four of us returned.  My last words to Rick before we roared off were, “Fill up your tank.”

It’s a sobering thought, this matter of our death.  And so it should be.

In his book, “The Art of Dying” Rob Moll begins by saying, “Our culture simply doesn’t know what to think about death.”

Contrast that with the writer of Ecclesiastes who wrote this nugget of profound wisdom.

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.  (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

 The house of mourning is a good teacher.  It reminds us of our own mortality.  It tells us to put things in order, now.  It encourages us to have those important conversations we know we should have before the end comes.

The house of mourning should remind us that we don’t need to fear death.  Quite the contrary, for Christ, has conquered death and his eternal Spirit is united with our spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17)   That’s why Jesus said, “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die!”  (John 11:25-26) 

And the house of mourning should stimulate us once again to “begin with the end in mind,” and reflect on what an incredible end it will be.  The Bible speaks of our eternal life as one filled with perpetual purpose as we actively serve Christ in the age to come.  It will be a life filled with the joys of a never-ending community of love.  And the Scripture startlingly says that an era is coming when we will experience pleasures that are at God’s right hand forevermore!

No wonder the Apostle Paul exclaimed, “I would much rather depart and be with Christ, for that would be better by far.” (Philippians 1:23) 

And finally, in light of the certainty of death and the brevity of life, the house of mourning should catalyze a recommitment on the part of each one of us to live faithfully for Christ, one heartbeat at a time.  It should remind us to live each day with unswerving passion as we…

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first commandment.  And the second is like it:

Love your neighbour as yourself.”  (Matthew 22:37)

Corpath members may not be pulling a garden weed at the moment our final number is called.

But the sobering thought is this…that day will come.  It will come as sure as it did a few years back for a good buddy of mine in our Corpath Forum, and as sure as it did for my friend pulling weeds in his garden.

How then should we live?  As we launch into the fall season, let’s recommit to make our Corpath mission come alive each day, and “Pursue excellence in business, in life and in spirit.” 

And if we faithfully live out this commitment, it matters not if our days end in a garden or a hospice, on a highway or hiking in the mountains.

What will matter is that we maintained integrity, led diligently, served faithfully, sought justice, loved well, and walked humbly with our God.

May it be so for each of us as Corpath members this fall.

Blessings for each day this week,