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And Then What?

(Proverbs 27:1 – “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”)


 We are all familiar with the expression “life comes at you fast,” meaning the circumstances in our lives can change quickly.  While this is true of life, our greater concern should be that death comes at us fast.  Circumstances will change throughout our lives and sometimes they can change fast, but life goes on and we eventually adjust ourselves to the change.  Death, however, leaves no place for change.  It is fast and it is permanent.  In the face of impending death, even those who live long lives are known to say, “Life seemed to go by way too fast.”  Time is always taking things from us in this life.  All we possess is only possessed by us for a time.  Time eventually leaves us with only the memories of times gone by, until it finally leaves us with no more time at all.  Everyone knows death is inevitable, and yet we sometimes live our lives almost as if it were not.  In James 4:13 we are cautioned about boasting in tomorrow.  James says, “Now listen, you who say, “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.”  We all assume we will have more time and that tomorrow will be there for us, but tomorrow sometimes proves us wrong.  And then what?

We can become so caught up in chasing after the things that we believe will fulfill our lives, that we don’t stop to ask ourselves “And then what?”  We are going to die one day, and then what?  It could be sooner than we think or it could be later, but we are going to want to know the answer to that question in advance of that day, because death comes at you fast.  Being prepared for death should be the number one priority of our life.  I think that was what Jesus was trying to tell us when he said, “What profit a man, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?  In asking this, Jesus was saying, “So what if you gain fortune, or fame, or success, or whatever it is you are chasing in life; and then what?”  What will it profit you if you gain all theses things and lose your own soul?   II Corinthians 5:9 gives us the answer to the question “and then what?”  And then, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body whether good or bad.”  That is the “and then what” that follows death.  Jesus warns, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear:  Fear him who, after killing of the body, has the power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him.”  But to all those who believe in his name, he promises, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”  We are all going to cross over to one side or the other one day.  The biggest concern of our lives should be which side we are going to cross over to.  Eternity is a never-ending existence that we will spend in one place or the other.   You don’t want to wait too late to ask “And then what?”

In writing this, I feel in myself the same urgency as the apostle Paul when he wrote, “Since we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.”  If it seems that I am tying to persuade you by putting a little fear into your hearts, I won’t deny it; I am.  After reading Jesus’s words, I think maybe he was too:  “Fear  him who, after killing of the body, has the power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him.”  In this age of “God is love and that is all,” we don’t like to think of God in this way, but Jesus made it very clear that we need to.  The gospel of the grace of God to us in Jesus is indeed good news, but it is very bad news for those who choose to reject or just put off receiving the mercy of his grace.  God’s word tells us, “Today is the day of salvation” because we aren’t promised tomorrow.   There is a reason for the urgency of heart that I am feeling today.   A couple of days ago, I received an early morning phone call from my daughter, crying and distraught after having witnessed the tragic death of a young man she knew, who was confined to a wheelchair and suffered from cerebral palsy.   The suddenness of death became a harsh reality right before her eyes that morning as this precious soul was hit by a dump truck, while simply trying to cross the street.  Death indeed comes at us fast, and is obviously no respecter of persons.  The first concern of my heart upon hearing of this young man’s death was, “Lord, I hope he had received your grace.”  I am so thankful to have found out that he had.  I later found out that he was a Christian and that his life was dedicated to servanthood.   One of his friends wrote a beautiful tribute to this young man that I think worthy of repeating.  His friend said they knew that he was up there running with God in a new, amazing body that wasn’t restrained by two wheels, and that they could picture that smiling face “running with the One he knew was worth chasing.”  Those are words of wisdom to all of us.  Whatever you are pursuing in life, make sure you are chasing the One who is worth chasing.  There is not a doubt in my mind that this young man knew the answer to the question, “And then what?”  Death may have come at him fast, but it didn’t come at him unprepared.  In the busyness of our lives, as we are running to and fro chasing the things of life that can only be possessed for a time, let’s slow down a minute and be sure we are running after the One who is worth chasing.  Let’s make sure we know the answer to “And then what?”


Life is never finished
There is always something new
Just when you think you’re finished
There’s one more thing to do
We hustle and we bustle
Trying to make our dreams come true
Hoping to find contentment
In the things that we pursue
We say we’re going to stop
When we get this last thing done
But life is never finished
And that time never comes
Because life is never finished
Just when you think you’re through
Another something comes along
You’re sure you need to do
But then one day it happens
And you run out of time
With so much left to do
You leave it all behind
Because life is never finished
This much I know is true
Life is never finished
Until it finishes with you
And then you will remember
That which you forgot
And wish you had taken the time 
to ask . . . .
And then what?

(Hebrews 3:15 – Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.)





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