We’re All Going to Die

“I’m going to die. You’re going to die. We’re all going to die.” Siggie, from the movie What About Bob? understands all too well what our futures hold. COVID-19 confirms it. Perhaps people felt the same way in 1918: the uncertainties of life in a pandemic, civil unrest, the haves and have-nots, Democrats vs. Republicans, socialists vs. capitalists. Not much has changed.

In her book The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath says that things people did seemed silly since everyone ended up dead. The writer of the Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes says virtually the same thing.

“Everything is meaningless,” we read in Ecclesiastes 1:2. Yes, life is short and whatever we accomplish, we leave behind when we go. At the same time, life is good and God wants us to enjoy it:

“A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.” Ecclesiastes 9:7 

Ecclesiastes says that God wants us to simply enjoy life and the blessings He gives. He reminds us that we can’t take anything with us when we go, so why waste time and worry striving to gain anything? Life is a gift to receive rather than something to own and control. We need to remember that we are just traveling through this world and take each moment as it comes, not ruing the past nor dreading the future. We’re in God’s hands and He will guide us each step of the way. Our happiness needs to come from God’s giving rather than from our efforts. Easier said than done in today’s never satisfied environment. 

How, then, should we live?

If we consider what people will say about us when we die, we may get an idea. Will they see us as superficial or as people of depth? Selfish, or people who care for others? Will they smile when they remember our kindnesses to them? Will they deem ours a life well-lived?

“Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6 

Tranquility or quiet is the word the Preacher in Ecclesiastes uses for happiness, for rest and peace of mind, something possible only by finding joy in each moment and living for others rather than for ourselves.

We can be certain that we’ll all die, whether from the COVID pandemic or something else. In the meantime, let’s enjoy God’s gifts. Let’s make life worth living.

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