Monday, November 12, 2018

Have you ever wandered through a cemetery looking for the headstone of a loved one? Were you distracted by viewing the information given on each marker as to how long each had lived?  The average life span today is 72 for men and 75 for women.  It was less than that a generation ago. Yet, some folks lived well past the eighty years spoken of by Moses in Psalms 90:10.  I’ve been blessed to see 82 winters come and go.  There are a few that lived past 100.  We have a couple of ladies in the congregation that have celebrated that 100-year mark and received their congratulatory letter from the President of the United States.  That’s quite an achievement in this day.

Living 100 years by itself isn’t much of a record.  If that’s all a person’s years show, he hasn’t accomplished much.  Whether a person lives into his teens or manages to squeak by a hundred, his or her life takes on significance only if Jesus was the author and finisher of their life (Hebrews 12:1,2).  It isn’t how long you live, but who you lived for that counts.

Adam, the first man, blazed the trail for all men to follow.  He lived 930 years.  That is a long life.  When Adam celebrated his 30th and 50th birthdays, it wasn’t a black balloon affair.  That event would have to wait until his 465th birthday.  Despite several centuries of life, the epitaph which Adam left future generations is, “and he died” (Genesis 5:5).  Noah lived 20 years longer than Adam, but he could not escape that expression, “and he died” (Genesis 9:29).  Methuselah outlive them all.  Yet, after 969 years inspiration still concludes with, “and he died” (Genesis 5:21).  There is no outstanding thing said about Methuselah other than he lived longer than any other human being.  At the age of 187 he had a son named Lamech.  After that other sons and daughters were born (Genesis 5:26).  Lamech’s first son was Noah.  When Noah was born, Methuselah was 600 years old.  When Noah entered the ark and the floods came, Methuselah died.  There is a question of whether he died in the flood or just before it took place.  Lamech died several years before the flood.  Yet, some of Noah’s brothers and sisters and their families perished in those waters.   Age means very little if that’s all you have.

Methuselah’s father was Enoch.  Enoch’s years upon the earth were limited to 365 (Genesis 5:24).  That doesn’t seem to speak well of Enoch.  What was his problem that his life on earth was cut so short?  Something is said about this man which is not said about his forefathers, nor most of his offspring.  Scripture states, “However, since Enoch was so close to the one true God, Enoch did not die.  God took him.”  Methuselah holds the world’s record for length of time on this earth.  Enoch has the shortest record of those described in Genesis 5.  Yet, all the long term living ultimately had “and he died” written about them.  Enoch never experienced death.  His life is eternal (Hebrews 11:5).

The rest of us will have that statement said of us, “and he/she died.”  The length of time we are here upon this earth is not important.  What is essential is whether we were “close to the one true God” or will be separated from Him throughout eternity!

What will your epitaph be?