We can live now for the crown of righteousness to be received then, so that in redeeming all of our time, we can actually live forward and look forward to the time of our passing at the end of our lives, and to the time of our Lord’s appearing at the end of this world.
In a fiery flash, Paul Walker’s life tragically and sadly ended when the Porsche Carrera GT he was riding in smashed into a light pole and burst into flames, killing him and the driver, Roger Rodas. The 40 year-old Fast & Furious franchise star no doubt was not planning on dying that 30th day of November when he got out of bed and got ready for his Reach Out WorldWide charity event at the motorsports shop Always Evolving in Valencia, California, showing off his fast cars and collecting toys for kids in disaster areas. Little did he know that his last second on this earth was rushing at him far faster than that sports car was moving when it fatally hit that light pole, ripping him away from his 15 year-old daughter and his friends.
Paul told them he would be back in five minutes…but in just a few seconds after getting in the car and speeding around the corner of the block, he was gone. He had no idea what the next few short moments would bring. None of us do. He made an assumption we all so easily make every day - that things will just go on like they always do. This will be just another quick spin around the block - this will be just another quick trip to the store - this will be just another drive to work - this will be just another day like any other…and in just one hundredth of a second, it can all come fatally flying apart at breakneck speed.
If you have a stopwatch, take it out and start it. Watch the whirling hundredths of seconds and realize that, at that mind-blowing speed, the time you have left in this life is winding down. Your last breath and last heartbeat in your last moment is rushing at you at a fast and furious, unrelenting rate. And so is mine. We are here, and we will vanish. No matter how much time we have left, our time is running down and will run out…just like Paul’s did.
How often I have made arrogant assumptions about what I am going to do - assumptions I can’t back up without the Lord graciously giving me life to live. How often we have all boasted in our arrogant schemes, not necessarily standing up and belligerently pounding our chests, but just quietly making and stating our plans in arrogant absentmindedness about the fact that we will only live to the next second to do anything if the Lord graciously grants it. And how much good have we sinfully neglected doing, because of assuming we will have plenty of time to do it?
You and I have only so many days - only so many hours - only so many seconds - and no more. Our mortality is running out at blinding speed, and that should make us wise toward God and His will for us. Understanding our brevity should purge out of us the triviality and silliness that saturates so much of our culture, so that we can live right now like right now will count forever, because in God’s providence, it actually does.
I liked Paul. His tragic death saddens me, especially for his daughter. I hate that his life so abruptly ended this way, but the fact is that his life would have ended one way or another. We naturally would have wished a long life for him, but ask anyone who has lived a long life and is now facing the end of it, and they will tell you that it has gone by too quickly.
As those that know and live for the Lord, we have a unique opportunity to face our final moment in this life with little regret. We can live for life beyond this life, pressing forward toward the goal of an eternal prize defined by a life of faithfulness to God, to be enjoyed forever in His kingdom. We can live now for the crown of righteousness to be received then, so that in redeeming all of our time, we can actually live forward and look forward to the time of our passing at the end of our lives, and to the time of our Lord’s appearing at the end of this world.
Let’s not waste any more time. We have none to spare.
*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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