Main Street of the small town in Iowa was lined with spectators. The grand procession of luxury cars and limousines followed the hearse toward the cemetery. Men removed their hats and mothers gathered children to their side. The richest and most influential man in the county had died and if you were anybody in the hierarchy of the little farming community, you were in the “pageant.”
Dick, a friend of mine recalled the big event from his perspective as a little boy standing next to his father outside the local barbershop. Nobody said a word as he watched wide-eyed, trying to be as somber as his wiggly body would allow.
It was 70 years later when Dick told me the story. He told it in a way that I could picture it in my mind and even feel his little-boy wonder. Dick continued:
“There was this goofy guy that hung around the barbershop. He was one of those guys that you knew would probably be sitting in the same barbershop when he grew old telling the same stories to his captive audience waiting for a haircut. I looked up at this guy. I remember him taking off his hat solemnly. And Ed, you know what he said as we watched the taillights of the last Cadillac turn down the road to the cemetery? ‘Man, that’s really living!’”
“Man, that’s really living,” Dick repeated. “Can you believe that? Even as a little boy I was thinking, ‘No, that’s really dying!’”
The sons of Korah wrote this, “For man in all his pomp must die like any animal” (Psalm 49:25). The main message of their Psalms (42-49) is that the nearness of God is the only good that lasts.
This is what we forget. No matter how much wealth we accumulate, how many careers we fulfill, how many church people we impress, how many vacations we go on, how many hobbies we pursue, how many friends we make, how many…how many…how many… Still, every human heart will stop beating and every human body will rot in the grave.
What we need to remember is that only our nearness to our God will matter in the end.
So, what will people say when your hearse drives your container to your grave? Will your family and friends be talking about all you left behind or will they be talking about all you sent ahead?
Real living begins with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Real living is drawing near to Him by walking with Him through life and investing our time, talent and treasure in what matters most to Him.
Now that’s really living!
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28).