No. 534



Sometime back I ran across a very interesting quotation about death by the famous American actor, Joseph Jefferson (1829-1905) and he said, "We are but tenants É and shortly the great Landlord will give us notice that our lease has expired."
To be sure, that's a novel way of looking at death, but it's true; at some point in time our lease will be up and we will all die.
One of the disadvantages of getting old, is that, as the years pass, many of our best friends will die before we do. You know, in one way death is a funny thing, not laughing funny, but peculiar or hard to understand. One day you are with someone and even make plans for the future, but they die and you never see them again, unless you see them in Heaven.
One of the reasons death is on my mind, is because over the past few years we have witnessed more death and destruction, all across the world and here in our country, than I can ever remember in my lifetime. We have lost some close friends to death here in our community, also the tragedy of the World Trade Center, war in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, the tsunami in Southeast Asia, the earthquake in Pakistan and the major hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast, especially the city of New Orleans, have all taken a great toll in human life.
What this says to me, and I hope it's something that you will at least think about if you have not already, is that we live by God's grace. In addition to being a feminine name, the word grace means "unmerited favor" or something we didn't do anything to earn. From the moment we were born, save for the tragedy of abortion, we have no guarantee that we will live another hour, day, week, month or year. We just live by God's grace. To me, and this is something you will have to decide on your own, we should be grateful for each day we have and do our best to make the most of it.
There are a couple of verses in the Bible that talks about this, and if you are not familiar with these verses I hope you will take a few minutes and look them up. In James 5:13-14, it says, "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that'."
I heard one of the announcers during the 2005 Sugar Bowl football game make a statement that really hit the nail on the head. The Sugar Bowl has been played in New Orleans every single year, without exception, since 1935, but Hurricane Katrina changed that and the 2005 game was played in Atlanta, Ga. The announcer said, "Next year, God willing, we will be back in New Orleans." The announcer understood that if God had other plans, the game would be played somewhere else, if it would be played at all.
Now I am not saying that we should make the statement "if God wills" every time we say something or make a statement about our future plans, but we should always have an awareness that God is the One in control, and we only live by His grace. When it comes to death, it's hard for me to understand why He takes Godly, righteous people and leaves those behind who are vile and evil. The only thing I have ever been able to come up with is He is leaving them behind to give them a chance to repent, and come to Him before it's too late.
Every so often I get letters from atheists and agnostics who do not believe in God and I always respect their views and respond in kindness. However, all the polls I have seen indicate that more than 85 percent of the American people do believe in God. We are people of faith. That's our heritage and also where our hope comes from. While this is personal, and you do not have to agree, when it comes to my hope, these words to a song say it all, "My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness."
(EDITORÕS NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book ÒLearning, Earning & Giving Back.Ó)