Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Small World, Short Life

On April 20, 1999 I was driving down to Boulder, Colorado to look for apartments for school. Once I got a few minutes out, I couldn’t get any music on my favorite radio stations. I kept flipping around trying to find music and instead only heard breaking news. I didn’t want to hear breaking news so it took a little while before I actually stopped to listen. It was the news of the Columbine shooting. In the campus ministry where I was converted, many disciples had just graduated from there, and knew the victims. My home town was also personally hit as one of the victims was there the summer before for a football camp.

In 2007, a teenager opened fire at a mall in Omaha, Nebraska, killing 9. I was there the day before.

One week later a man opened fire at a Youth With a Mission office in Arvada, Colorado, just a mile or so south from the church where I spent many Sundays early in my spiritual walk. He would later go down to Colorado Springs and open fire during a service at New Life Church. Between both locations, 4 were killed and 5 were injured.

And of course, early Friday morning a gunman opened fire at a theater in Aurora, killing a dozen and wounding almost 60 more. One brother in the campus ministry tweeted that he was going to go to the movie, at that theater, at that time, but changed his mind last minute. One of the victims was from my community and whose mom works with a sister in my church.

It’s a small world.

While we search for answers, we need to accept the reality that it could happen here. It could happen to you. It could happen to me. I don’t want to be a downer, but the reality is Jesus could return any moment, or God could call you home any time in any way. We are not promised tomorrow.

In Luke 12, Jesus taught this parable:
“The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 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 all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things 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 anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (v 16-21)

James 4 reads, "Now 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.” Why, 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” (v 3-4)

Finally, in Hebrews 3, we read: "See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." (v 13-15)

For whatever purpose, a sovereign God has put you exactly where he wants you to be today. Do not harden your hearts to seek his will, for today may be your last opportunity to do so.

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