Daily Devotional December 2nd
“Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen? None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked.” (Ecclesiastes 8:7-8)
There is a very well known Christmas story written by Charles Dickens in 1843, that is still highly popular today, “A Christmas Carol.” In the story, the miserly old Scrooge is faced with his life’s achievements, his lack of regard for others and his ultimate reward for having lived a life entirely focused on making money...no matter the personal cost to himself or others. He makes a vow to live life differently after being confronted by three ghosts, the final of which shows him his imminent demise. He finds the motivation to change and the story ends with a ‘happily ever after’ ending. Scrooge becomes a generous individual intent on helping others.
As much as this story reminds us of the need to live not only for ourselves, I would certainly not advise anyone to develop their theology and their understanding of how life works from this fictional narrative. Scrooge changes because he knows he must; his very life depends on it. He is faced with his open grave and tombstone all ready for his occupancy. But life really doesn’t work that way. We have no idea when our final day will be. It is better for us to remember the ‘scrooge’ in one of Jesus’ story and how things turned out for him.
Jesus tells the story of a rich man. One year his crops are particularly plentiful. Dilemma...what to do with all the extra? He does the math and realizes that his current barns cannot house all of the surplus. Should he try to sell the extra? Trade it? Give it away? “Nope,” he decides; this extra will be kept and stored for his own personal use, to ensure that “[I will] have plenty of grain laid up for many years. [I’ll] take life easy; eat, drink and be merry”’(Luke 12:19). God’s response? “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself” (Luke 12:20)? The lesson? There’s a couple I think we should highlight: First, no one knows how long they have to live on this earth. Secondly, Jesus tells us this story should serve as a warning for all who choose to “store up things for themselves but are not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
How we spend our time on earth matters...each and everyday, as none of us knows when we will breathe our last in these physical bodies. Very few people are given an opportunity like the fictional Scrooge...to come so very close to death, but then to be given ‘extra innings’ to make a change. Live each day as though it could be your last. Make everyday count. Live fully for God. Recognize that all you have is from Him–money, possessions, time, abilities, talents, health, etc. He blesses us, so that we in turn can bless others!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!