I hate to break it to you, but – we are all going to die.
Not of the coranavirus – well, not all of us, at any rate. Some will die of the coronavirus. Some will die of cancer. Some of us will die of old age, some will die young. Some of us will die peacefully in our sleep, some of us will die in tragic circumstances.
The point is, however it happens, 100% of us are going to die. Not one of us is going to escape. It’s the ultimate statistic, the great leveler – whether you’re rich or poor, a somebody or a nobody, death doesn’t care: it is coming for you.
Why do I say this? Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been struck by how much of the response to the coronavirus seems to be dominated by panic. Of course we need to respond to a virus like this, but it does seem to me that some of the reaction at least has been over the top. I mean, come on, panic buying toilet roll – to the extent that you’d fight over it?
I wonder if the problem is that our society has put death so far out of mind that people just don’t think about death at all. In years gone by death would have been a much more ‘normal’ thing – e.g. many more children died in infacy, mothers died while giving birth, etc. I’m not saying it’s a good thing – just that in those days you had to face death pretty frequently. You had to deal with it. By contrast, in our society, death is relegated to an afterthought.
I hope that the coronavirus will be the wake-up call that we need as a society. We are not all immune from death. One day you, too, will die – and so will I.
The big question we need to ask of ourselves is not, “will I die of the coronavirus?” but – “am I ready to meet my maker when I die?”
Jesus spoke about this in the parable of the rich fool:
Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’
Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’
And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.”
‘Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’”
‘But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
‘This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.’Luke 12:13-21
My advice: let the coronavirus be our teacher. I’ve just finished reading a book called Living Life Backwards – a study on the book of the Bible called Ecclesiastes. One of the big messages of that book is that death should be our teacher: the fact that we are all going to die should teach us how to live wisely, not wasting our time but making the most of it.
Teach us to number our days,Psalm 90:12
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
My prayer is that the whole situation with the coronavirus will teach our society to value our lives more, to live wisely in these days, and especially to turn to Jesus Christ – who is the way, the truth, and the life. Everyone who lives and believes in him will not perish everlastingly but will have eternal life.