Ever ask a person how they are and they reply, “I am alive.”
King Solomon says being alive is much better than you realize.
“For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.” (Eccl. 9:4-6).
That is the brutal staggering truth of the book of Ecclesiastes: the whole idea is that life itself is vanity-an unpredictable bubble that bursts. That is why it is useless to worry or be afraid of tommorow. God has given you life today. Enjoy your lot in life, your family, your marriage or singleness, the food or lack thereof, the designer or second hand clothes.
Benefit from being alive.
Today you can breathe in fresh air, see sunshine or feel rain. Tommorow’s appointments can be scheduled but never confirmed. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14). The clock is ticking and time is up before you know it. It is a short, frail existence and when death comes it will brush you aside like an old cobweb, but for now you are alive.
The preacher is shouting from and pounding on his Old Testament pulpit that to be alive no matter your station in life is better than being dead. Death is not only the great equalizer, but it humbles all its victims great and small. A living undomesticated mangy dog compared to a living lion is lowest on the food chain. But a mongrel with his heart beating is better than the muted roar of the dead King of Beasts.
No matter how insignificant you feel about your job, you are alive. Whether or not you like your appearance-you are alive. No matter how little or much income you earn-you are alive. It does not matter that no one knows you, or if everyone knows you.
People may hate you, they may love you-but what does that matter when you are dead? Can you feel offended, insecure, jealous or even hate when you lie six feet under. Can you love, forgive and be generous when you are dead. You cannot see anyone’s smile or frown from the vantage point of a casket. You cannot! You come in naked you go out naked and nothing from this life is transferred into eternity. Live alive. Be alive. Today is here. Tommorow may never come for you if death gets there first.
You may be sick and in pain, but it is a sign of life. You may be lying on a hospital bed but you are alive. You may have lost the closest friend or relative and you live with heartache but you are alive. Why give up on life that has not given up on you? Life is your best friend right now. It is a gift from God. Count your blessings because no matter how you feel about your life you are alive and that is huge.
Today you have something you do not have when you are dead and that is opportunity. Today is the great mercy God has given you.
The reason this is important is because you know that one day you will die and you have the opportunity to prepare for death. Only those who are prepared to die are ready to live. You will face God one day and you must prepare. Hear the voice of the preacher today. “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all.” (Eccl. 9:3a). The KJV describes death as the one event. The death event is coming. It comes to all. While you are alive do not ignore it. While there is breath there is hope.
Adam ushered in the death event with his sin in the Garden of Eden, “…by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5:12). You do not realize what a rebel and traitor to God you have been yet he extends another day of mercy toward you. Isaiah said it well, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.’ (Isaiah 55:6-7). Prepare for death by repenting of your sins, believing the message that Christ died for sinners to give them eternal life. He was the Lion of Lions and yet he died for dead dogs like us. That may be offensive but what are our lives compared to the holiness of God?
Inside the sinner is dead. Their spirit is dead. This person has no hunger or love for God in this state and all they think of is selfishness and conceit. In their religion they are dead. In their good deeds they are dead. But even though they have despised their God he comes to them with the message that Christ died for sinners. God in his mercy has let you live up to this point-what will you do knowing one day you will die?
Jesus Christ rose from the dead so you would not have to lie in the grave. If you rely on anything: good works, religious affiliation, social activities, anything except what Christ transacted on the cross you will die in your sins and nothing will save you from the God you have offended. You cannot follow your own path, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 14:12). While there is hope turn to the Price of Life Jesus Christ who will, “deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb 2:15).