Recently, I was stunned to get the news that a friend of mine, since junior high, was losing his battle with cancer and would soon leave this world. I was shocked, literally without words, because he’s my age and the picture of health. Then, I was reminded of my thickest file in the file cabinet at my office. I guess that sounds odd, so allow me to explain. I have a file cabinet full of files from 20 years of ministry. Files of sermons, Bible class lessons and wedding and counseling material. Then there’s my thickest file, the one that’s literally overflowing with documents representing every funeral I’ve preached in the last twenty years.
It’s been said that ministers do around 10 funerals to every 1 wedding. That’s true, and it could be more, my thickest file is proof. That file continues to remind me of just how temporary our physical bodies are. Paul wrote that our “outer self is wasting away”(II Cor.4:16). We just aren’t made to be here long. Our physical bodies are fragile and this life is temporary.
My thickest file confirms that not a one of us is guaranteed to live into our nineties. Those who are blessed to live that long usually comment about how quickly those years passed. I don’t know how many funerals I’ve preached over the years. I can only tell you that my file of funeral material is my thickest file by far. That urges me to continue to talk about “the life” after this physical life. I’m convinced that this life is short and not all about the here and now and all that we can see, touch and do. We desperately need to live this physical life with the next life in mind.
“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath(Psalm 39:4-5)!