As someone who has longed to meet Jesus for a long time now, I was particularly struck by a quote I read from one of the early church fathers named Irenaeus. He said, “The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death”. The statement also reminded me of Francis Chan’s latest book, “You and Me Forever”, in which he espouses the primary role of the husband is to make certain his wife is well prepared for Heaven.
Our entire lives should be spent preparing ourselves and others to meet Christ. This profoundly impacts the decisions we make and activities we engage in every day of our lives.
What if we actually took this charge seriously? What about our lives would change if we shifted our focus off of the immediate to the future? How might our lives look different if instead of concentrating our efforts on ourselves, they instead move to be focused on Jesus? After all, isn’t this the call of every disciple? We were created for something much larger than this world and for work far beyond our short-lived existence on this planet. What choices did you make today for which there was no eternal gain? Worse still, what choices did you make which were actually counter to what Jesus would have had you decide?
Our mission becomes far more real and urgent when viewed in light of eternity. Everything we do in this life prepares us for the next. This is merely our testing ground. It is our practice field. If we cannot prove ourselves trustworthy down here, it is likely we will not find a place for ourselves in Heaven (Matthew 25:14-30). What we do today not only matters in the spiritual battles being fought all around us, it also matters to our eternal standing. We’re not here to waste time or grab as much gusto as we can squeeze out of life. We’re here to prepare for eternity with Jesus.
We can’t help others prepare if we are woefully unprepared ourselves. Just as an airline stewardess will instruct you to place an oxygen mask over your own face before attempting to help others, you must first make certain you are ready to meet your Creator before you can lead others to do the same. And we must lead others! Recognize how little time we have to not only prepare ourselves but to then lead as many other people as possible. Life is truly short and you will waste it all if you don’t spend it doing what you were called and created to do!
Are you prepared to die? Are you ready to help others with their preparation as well? If not, why not? With what are you spending your time? What is more important than preparing yourself and others for eternity? This life is but a breath that will soon fade away (Psalm 144:4, Job 7:7, Psalm 39:5). Time is ticking down while you are preoccupied with selfish endeavors and pursuits. We must begin now or dare to face Jesus before we are prepared to do so. It’s up to each of us to be well prepared to die.