Drawing close to my Jubilee year has made me reflect more than ever on my mortality.
Reflecting on my own mortality has had the effect that I’m focusing on the mortality of those special others in my life — parents, children, siblings, etc. There’s something very sobering in thinking about death on a daily basis. And in this Jubilee year I will be thinking intentionally about death every moment I can. It’s like I want to be touched spiritually every moment of the rest of my life, having known something irrepressibly serious and deeply significant that is all too easily missed in this superficial life.
If I look at those photographs above, where I’m held by my parents, who this day are still alive, it causes me to feel sad, teary even; that all those years have gone by; that they were so young, and so was I; that we cannot reclaim that day, to visit it, as it was, even for five minutes. The time is gone! Yet, we have our day, fifty years on, spare one.
These reflections have caused the sort of consternation that decrees the need:
1. Death to self, that others might live a little more, so Jesus comes alive in me.
2. Death to self, that, in minimising my own cravings, I’ll see God.
3. Death to self, so that I will finally live something approaching a truly godly life.
4. Death to self, where my remaining years with precious family would count.
5. Death to self, so there’d be fewer regrets through the days and decades ahead.
6. Death to self, in order that, in my remaining years, I would taste something of heaven’s life for me.
7. Death to self, so I would no longer be my own impediment.
Life runs better when there’s more death to self.
Sometimes I think that we Christians make complex the simple. God’s Word tells us to die to self, yet we opt for a secularised, quality-endorsed character reformation package. We lose sight of Jesus in this. We lose touch with the Holy Spirit’s work in us. And the Father, well He just fades into the background in our lives.
What better reason have we to be compelled to die to self more than to make the most of our loved ones? To be Jesus with them and for them. That’s reason compelling enough.
The truth is, any moment now, an end could come. Any end, and certainly an end that will leave us horribly disfigured in sorrow. All our moments are rich historically, and we never sense the enormity of history until eternal dimensions impress themselves on our lives.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.