For some it is already here.
Another friend of ours has slipped from this realm of time into eternity, seemingly overnight. Actually, in our experience it was within in a few hours! We did know that he had been fighting cancer for the last month or so until yesterday morning, and then he was gone by the time we got back from my sister's house, last evening! There was a hint on facebook that he might be sick (they were taking him food), and then it seemed that he may have recovered (they canceled taking him food, but there were no funeral arrangements announced), we did not know, there was no way for us to know, that it was because he had just gotten so sick with cancer that he was beyond eating. Of course we should have called, but having our own relatives to care for keeps us sort of hopping and more than a little distracted. So that what has now become, "the last time we saw him", will have to sustain us in our memory of him. Such is life.
He was around our age, maybe he had a few on us, but not that many. He was only aware of his terminal situation for about a month and a half! That is not a lot of time to put things in order and get ready to go! Especially when much of that time is consumed in suffering, and trying to get one's goodbyes in. Also recently, we nearly lost a good friend in a car accident! His honda was pushed off the road by a dual-transfer rig! But by the grace of G-d the honda was the only thing totaled and he walked away with only slight injuries. But the fact remains that in a few tense moments his wife could have been widowed, and he would have had no warning at all!
Each day that we manage to wake up we should be full of grateful praise for a new day! Each day we should live in a state of preparation, readiness. Not of morbid dread, mind you, for I do not mean that we should be focused on death , or iminent separation from this realm. However, we should be focused on LIFE, the real life that extends far beyond this realm! We should live in such a way that we are always prepared, for the time when our lease may suddenly terminate! We are not to live in fear of losing this life, but in anticipated joy of going on with our Heavenly Father when our "time" comes!
There is something that each of us should be accomplishing, there is some part of His Will being done on earth as it is in heaven, that we are supposed to be doing, or at least cooperating with! Many of us do not even know what that is, much less how in the world to go about it. But we should know. We are going to be held responsible for knowing. My one goal in life is to hear those ultra-comforting words, "Well Done, my good and faithful Child! Enter into the Joy of Adonai"! But if that is to become a reality, in the near or distant future, then my obedience and forgiveness will need to stay current! I need to hear His will for me every day, and be sure that I do it! I need to stay close to His heart!
The Jewish people want to die with the words of the Shema being the last they utter, "Shema, Israel, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Echad, Baruch Shem, Kavode Malchuto la'olam vaed!"; which means, "Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One, and Blessed is the Name of His glorious Kingdom forever and ever!" These words are their cry of adoration, their grateful acknowledgment of His loving favor toward them! It would be a shame to them to be found ungrateful! How much more would it be to us, who have received the atonement of the Messiah which they only long for, to be found ungrateful when He calls for us!
I want to be found grateful and faithful, being obedient when He comes! I do not want Him to have to come during Shabbot services to find me worshiping Him! I do not want to be caught slacking off and fleshing out! I want to be found busily doing what He has called me to do! He did not leave me in the dark about what it is that He wants from us! His Torah is full of instructions, it is full of recommendations and requirements, and it is our job to discern which is what and act accordingly. He is looking for a remnant that will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Most at best will do one or the other, but it is increasingly difficult to find those fulfilling both requirements Spirit and Truth, and living in that state of holiness, without which no one will see the Lord!
Are we presenting our bodies daily as a living sacrifice, holy unto the Lord? Are we living as though we expect Him to come back, as though we actually want Him to come back? Or are we just existing in a meaningless stupor, hoping He puts it off as long as possible so that we can finish the party our flesh is throwing for itself every day? Or, if the party is over for us, are we just bemoaning our fate and sleeping the sleep of sorrow or depression, because we can't appreciate what He has done for us? Work is a healthy activity, it keeps us mentally stimulated and physically fit, if done correctly and within His parameters. But how we work and why we work and what we work on are of utmost importance these days. We have not been promised a tomorrow. What if today is our last, is the work we are about something we would be proud for Him to find us doing? Are we ready to meet Him? Will that be a joyful meeting or a tearful, shame-clouded one?
There is an old Hymn that I love, that says, "Work for the night is coming, ...when man's work is done." I personally do not believe in "retirement" on earth. And the way the government is handling things that is probably a good thing! lol I am looking for "refirement"! There are seasons in life, and what work looks like for us may change many times. But the question should be "am I about my Father's business"? Am I doing what I know He wants me to do? If not, why not?!
My "job" of birthing, parenting, discipling and educating these seven children will be wrapping up soon, but there is still much work to be done on this earth! The fields are white with harvest! All I need is His direction as to which part of the field to work in! He has decreed that we are to faithfully work for six days and take Shabbot off, set it aside, to give Him His glory! There are six days to maintain the blessings we have been given, to work in His Kingdom and to pursue our individual interests, but one day has been "sanctified", set apart, laid aside, wherein we are to rest from our own work and revel in His work! We are to take the time He has set aside to appreciate the fact that He created us and sustains us! We are to enjoy His presence in a more deliberate, relaxed and concentrated way. And then, refreshed from that time, arise to return to the work of His Kingdom!
This practice creates an upward spiral of joy and relaxation that keeps our bodies from falling apart from stress and anxiety! It makes us more aware of His presence and His anointing in our lives. It makes our vision clearer and our responsibilities more defined, and increases our desire and ability to carry them out. It keeps us at the ready, while assuring that we will not get worn to a frazzle! It is an ingenious plan, by an all-wise creator, and we haughty humans are exceedingly stupid to scorn it as we tend to do, plodding on in our obsessive compulsive disorders! He has lovingly outlined a balance by which life and work can be maintained in a simple, consistent fashion, why don't more of His people take Him up on it? If we do, if we submit to His boundaries, and will be led by His Spirit, then we will be ready when it is our time to "shuffle off this mortal coil", and we will not be ashamed to meet Him, but appropriately thrilled.