Life is Fleeting
As I sit writing this article surrounded by peaceful beauty and the familiar bird sounds of Southern Africa, I am also surrounded by so many signs and memories of the brevity of life. Last Sabbath I participated in the funeral for my sister, one year younger than I. The pastor who preached the sermon reminded me of the time I conducted their wedding, many years ago. His wife was brutally murdered at their own home by burglars some years after that.
I am staying with my brother-in-law. Each morning I go for a walk or a run and enjoy the beauty of African nature, but before I leave the house, I have to lock all the doors and security gates and set the alarm. As I walk, I can’t help noticing the high electric fences around each house with fierce barking dogs, ready to devour anyone who dares to enter without permission. From time to time a house alarm would go off in the neighborhood, and an armed response security vehicle will come racing to the scene. At home, most of the windows are kept shut, even though they all have heavy-duty burglar bar protection. Curtains are drawn. The atmosphere is depressing. Every time I want to escape to the back lawn for fresh air I have to unlock a door and a security gate. I guess I am not used to this anymore.
This Christmas I was invited to the home of a cousin of mine. Her husband, too, is a pastor. Five years before democracy came to South Africa, he was attacked by a group of thugs during the criminal and political malaise of the time. He nearly lost his life, but was left paralyzed and physically challenged to continue his work as a pastor.
Are you depressed yet? Why am I telling you all these things? For one simple reason, which is found in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25. Five were wise and five were foolish. What made the foolish foolish? They were lulled into a sense of apathy and lost touch with the signs of life’s brevity and therefore the purpose of life. This visit to the beautiful but disturbed country of my birth has helped to shake up and straighten my priorities. How about yours? Where are you at as you start this new year? Do you have a clear sense and a commitment to what God wants for you in 2015? Do you have oil in your lamp? Is it burning brightly?
According to our custom, we are starting this new year with another TEN DAYS OF PRAYER, January 7-17. I would like to invite you to join me each evening from 7 to 8 pm. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to reset our spiritual clock, and make 2015 the best spiritual walk with God ever.