On Monday of this past week I went to Duncan to spend the night with my grandmother while she was in the hospital. The doctors, and hospice workers, had said that she probably wouldn?t live through the night so I wanted one more opportunity to see my grandmother before she died.
I will always treasure the night I had sitting with my grandmother. She never said a word. She stayed curled up her in her bed with her baby doll tucked under her arm. She didn?t struggle or strain. There were no machines breathing for her or tubes pumping drugs into her body. She simply lay in her bed as I sat in my chair. We didn?t reminisce about the old times. She didn?t give me any last words of wisdom for how I should live after she was gone. Yet, my night spent at my grandmother?s bedside was sweet, a night I will always remember.
I gathered up my stuff, kissed her on the cheek, and told her I loved her about 6:30 am on Tuesday morning. My dad called me at 10:30 am and told me that my grandmother had gone home to be with the Lord. I thanked the Lord for His mercy and my grandmother?s great reward. During the past several years of my grandmother?s life her health has really failed. Her mind had faded so that she didn?t really know any of us, but don?t let that lead you to believe that she just lay in bed in a catatonic state, she didn?t. She was full of life, and animated, just in a different way that most of us are use to. She talked about people from her childhood as if they were still around. She repeated to herself, and anyone who would listen, ?Well a bee, bee, bee and a bah, bah, bah.?? She would turn her head and talk to somebody and we learned to play along. To be honest with you, my grandmother was more child-like, more animated, and happier at the end of her life than we could have ever hoped for or imagined.?
I didn?t know that it would be the last night of my grandmother?s life, but I knew the end was in sight. When you are with someone you love at the end of their life it stirs your mind and emotions. I thought about all of the great times I had with my grandmother. I thought about the struggles she had during her lifetime. She had lost a baby she had named, ?Ann,? when the baby was only four months old. She had been through a very bad divorce when my mother was young, a divorce that she didn?t want. My grandmother knew tough times, but she was tough as a boot. ?
Sitting there in the hospital room also led me to think about my own death. I know that we don?t like to talk about things like this, but I sure thought about it. There was a time when my grandmother was ?young,? but not on Monday night. How quickly the days must have passed for her. How quickly time is passing for me. Psalm 90:10 says,
10 The days of our lives add up to seventy years, or eighty, if one is especially strong. But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression. Yes, they pass quickly and we fly away. (Psalm 90:10 NET)
????????? If you and I are given 70 years to live then we have 25,550 days on the day of our birth. That seems like a lot of time doesn?t it? We might as well relax, take a ?siesta,? and take our time because we have a lot of time to get things done. Not so fast my friends. Stop and think about this for a minute. If you are here this morning and you are 17 years old, then you have 19,345 days left on the clock. If you are 25 years old this morning then you have 16,425 days left on this planet. Boy, those 3,000 days sure flew by as we were moving from 17 to 25 didn?t they?? If you are 35 years old this morning then you are truly ?middle aged? and you are halfway through your days?you?ve only got 12,775 days left.? If you are over the age of 35 then you?ve passed the mid-point of this marathon called life. If you are 50 years old then you?ve only got 7,300 days left to do what you?ve been given to do in this life.? If you are 60 this morning then you better get busy because you?ve only got 3,650 days left to complete your assignment. The old adage, ?Time flies when you?re having fun? is partly true. Time flies whether you are having fun or not. ?This is not a new revelation. God?s Word speaks plainly about the nature of our lives. In Job 14:1-2 we read,
1Man, born of woman, lives but a few days, and they are full of trouble.? 2He grows up like a flower and then withers away; he flees like a shadow, and does not remain. (Job 14:1-2 NET)
????????? We live but a few days. For those who are young this might seem like the despairing words of a melancholy man who is contemplating how tough life can be or someone who is facing their last days. Job certainly had reason to contemplate the struggles of life, he knew them far better than most of us, but when you stop to think about it, when you experience the passage of time, 25,550 days is truly but a ?few days.?
????????? In Psalm 102:11-12, we read something very similar to what we?ve just read coming from Job. Read along with me.
11 My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass. 12But you, O LORD, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. (Psalm 102:11-12 NIV)
????????? What?s interesting about this Psalm is the superscription that gives us some insight into the state of mind the Psalmist was in when he wrote these words. The superscription reads, ?A prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before the Lord.? ?Does this description fit any of us here this morning? Have you ever been afflicted? Have you ever been ?faint?? Wrung out? Wore slick by the troubles of life? Sure you have and I have also. It is when we are forced to face our mortality that we can think most clearly, if we will pour out our sorrows and anxieties to the Lord.
????????? The last Scripture that I want to share with you to demonstrate that this idea of the shortness of our days is not a new revelation is found in James 4:13-15.
13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NIV)
????????? James says that we ?are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.?? It is true. We may not want to face the reality of the brevity of life, the shortness of our days, but simply ignoring the facts will not change them. My aim this morning is not to draw us into a morbid mentality or to plunge us into fatalism. I believe with all of my heart that the Lord has led me to consider the number of my days this past week so that I might learn of His ways. Think about it for a moment. I told you earlier that if we are given 70 years then we have 25,550 days to live. Well, is there anyone here who has been to a funeral for someone under the age of 70? I sure have. We are not promised that we will live the full 25,550 days. Each day that we live is a gift from God. If this is the case, then the question must be asked, ?How are we then to live today??
????????? Those in our society would offer many different answers to this question, but I believe the Bible calls us to ?consider? as we live this life. Life is not just to be lived, but it is to be thought about as we live.? There are no accidents, no coincidences, in life. We are to consider, to think about, everything that happens in life, everything we take in, and react and adjust accordingly. ?
????????? Let me give you an example from my experience. This past week, when I went to sit with my grandmother, it wasn?t just a trip for me to pay my last respects to my grandmother or to spend some of her last moments with her, but it was also an opportunity for me to learn, to consider. I did want to spend time with my grandmother, I was showing respect for all that she had done for me, but I also learned much. I learned that my days are numbered and that they need to be lived one at a time. I thought about my grandmother?s life and how she cared for others. I considered my grandmother?s life and I learned some valuable lessons.
????????? There are several words in the Bible for ?consider.?? They pretty much share the same meaning and each one encourages us to give great thought, to pay attention, to what is going on around us. Let me share some of the things I?ve learned as I?ve studied these words this past week.
????????? First, the Hebrew word, ?a’r’? (ra’ah) means, ?to see, look at, inspect, perceive, observe, or consider.? ???In Psalm 8:3, David wrote,
3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,? 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4 NIV)
????????? When we stop and really think about the vast universe that God has created, the depth of the sea, the expanse of the heavens, the glory of God?s creation?it is humbling to think that we are God?s crowning creation.
????????? In Proverbs 6:6-11, those who are lazy and wonder why they can?t pay their bills or take care of their business are encouraged to consider the ways of the ant if they want to know the solution to their problem. Read along with me.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.? 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest– 11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:6-11 NIV)
????????? God has built wisdom into His creation if we will only pay attention. The lessons of life don?t just come from gazing into the heavens or into the ant bed, but they also come from watching those around us.
????????? We have lots of young folks with us this morning and I want to urge you to consider what I am saying. You don?t have to lay your hand on the stove to know that it will burn. Listen to those who tell you, ?It?s hot! Don?t touch it!?? Watch those who dismiss the counsel of others and go ahead and lay their hand on the stove. There is a reason they jerk their hand back and cry out in pain.? Learn from others. In Proverbs 7:6-7 we see an example of what I am talking about. Read along with me.
6 At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. 7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. (Proverbs 7:6-7 NIV)
????????? The man was watching as this young guy was strolling down the street pass the house of a ?hoochie momma.?? The NIV says that she was ?dressed like a prostitute with crafty intent,? but let me tell you that I?m almost positive the Hebrew says that she was a ?hoochie momma.?? Proverbs 7:21 tells us, 1 ?With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.?? How do you think this story is going to end?? You know it. It happens all the time in our own day doesn?t it?? You bet it does. We?ve got this story so that we can learn and not fall into the trap, but we don?t ?consider,? therefore we relive the story over and over again.
????????? There are two words in the New Testament that I want to take a look at as we consider what the Lord is teaching us. The first word is, ?katanoe,w? (katanoeo) and it means, ?to perceive, observe, understand, or to consider attentively.?? In Hebrews 10:23-24 we are encouraged to think about ways that we can encourage others on to love and good deeds. Read along with me.
23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:23-24 NIV)
????????? ?Doing good? doesn?t come naturally. We are selfish at our core. We want what is best for us. Yet Scripture calls us to ?consider others as better than ourselves.?? How can I inspire, or encourage, you who call Britton Christian Church ?home? to love others and to do good to those who the Lord leads into your life?? That is a great question. It?s not simply a question for me, it is a question for all of us. How can we lead others in the Lord?s way?? To come up with answers to that question we have to think about it don?t we? Of course we do. We have to consider how we can lead others to love folks and bless those who are in their life.?
????????? We are also called to consider the Word of God so that we might put it into practice. I?m constantly amazed at how those of us who call the United States home have access to so much of God?s Word and yet we know so little of God?s Word. It?s like someone dying of dehydration who works in an Ozarka water bottling plant. How does that happen? James tells us,
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it– he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25 NIV)
????????? We are to look ?intently? into God?s Word. Contemplate it. Consider it. Apply it to our lives. Put it into practice.
????????? The last word that I want to show you this morning is the word, ?avnalogi,zomai? (analogizomai). This is the word that we get our word ?analyze? from. It means, ?to think over, ponder, or consider.? ??What are we to ?consider??? We are to consider the life of Jesus. As we go through this life, full of heartaches, struggles, and trials, we are to fix our gaze, not on our problems, but on the One who endured every trouble that came His way so that He might win the victory for you and me.? The writer of Hebrews says,
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV)
????????? I?ve considered Jesus this past week. As I sat with my grandmother and saw her emaciated body, her faded memory, and her declining health, I considered the promises of God. This life is not all there is my friend. Sitting by my grandmother?s side didn?t make me depressed or full of sorrow?it solidified my hope that a new day is coming for those who will trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That day has already come for my grandmother.
????????? As we have been studying the book of Revelation I?ve tried to remind you that the application of the Scripture is not just for a future day?it is relevant now. Jesus is coming again, but He came for my grandmother on Tuesday morning and it was a glorious coming! Jesus is coming again for each of us who has accepted Him as Lord of our lives.
????????? I take great comfort in knowing that the glorious truths we have been learning in our study of Revelation have already been realized by my grandmother. Turn with me to Revelation 21 and let?s read together.
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:1-7 NIV)
????????? There are no emaciated bodies where my grandmother is at this morning. No one suffers from dementia.? There are no funerals, no tears, no sorrow, but there is joy, unspeakable joy. I don?t want to simply live out my days, I want to consider each opportunity the Lord gives me to learn about this life and the life to come. I hope you will consider the things that have been said this morning. I hope you will consider your own mortality. Your life will soon end my friends. What will you do on your last day? Will you look for Jesus to come for you? The question is, ?Are you living for Him today? Have you confessed that you are a sinner in need of a Savior?? Consider this my friends and respond, make the decision to come to Christ today.
Britton Christian Church
922 NW 91st
OKC, OK. 73114
April 2, 2006