June 09, 2014

The Bully on the Block

1 Corinthians 15:12-28

People are destined to die once, and after that to face judg-ment.
—Hebrews 9:27


In his book Six Hours One Friday, Max Lucado refers to death as “the bully on the block.” The apostle Paul calls death “the last enemy to be destroyed.” Author Joseph Bayly, a father who lost three young children, says that death is “the last thing we talk about.”

Of course! Who wants to talk about death when you’re enjoy-ing life? Who wants to think about something so morbid when you’re all set to live for many years to come? And who wants to be reminded that death could come at any time? Maybe you feel like the young man who, after I had preached about death, said to me, “I don’t come to church to hear about death. I come to church to be uplifted.” Perhaps you feel that way too and wonder why you should read about death on a beautiful summer day when there’s so much in life to enjoy!

The answer is actually quite simple: death is a fact of life that all of us must face someday. Death is no respecter of age or gender or season. We are born, live our lives, and die in the context of eternity. Each of us has an appointment with death that we cannot cancel.

But in spite of all that, Paul urges us to live life to the fullest, because Christ overcame death when he rose from the dead. Death is not the end. That’s the reason we can enter into any day, any week, any season with confidence.

Lord, our God, keep us from being overcome with fear, and help us face the future with confidence because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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