Today’s blog, first posted on February 15, 2014, is provided by Pastor Ryun Chang.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Dying in Sleep”
Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.
There was a time when Americans actually watched men’s tennis, which is presently dominated by great European players (Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, etc.). It was when American players Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi dominated the sports, and before them, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. There was another American player who was very good, even winning a Grand Slam tournament in Australia. But Vitas Gerulaitis, born to Lithuanian immigrant parents in Brooklyn, just wasn’t as good as McEnroe, Connors, or the Swedish star Bjorn Borg. After retiring, he had made a successful transition to sportscasting and was also playing in the Champions Tour, a circuit for men 35 and over. Life was good for Gerulaitis.
In 1994, he was at the Racquet Club of East Hampton, Long Island, for a charity tennis clinic. After the clinic ended, he headed to a friend’s oceanfront estate where he was staying for a brief rest. Before leaving, he gave a friend a hug, telling her, “I’ll see you at 7 for dinner at the club.” He never made it. “A malfunction in an improperly installed pool heater caused carbon monoxide gas to seep into the guesthouse where Gerulaitis was sleeping, causing his death by carbon monoxide poisoning” (Wikipedia). He was only 40 years old. Some people get a warning (like a cancer diagnosis), but Gerulaitis neither got one nor knew what hit him. In football, the term “sudden death” refers to winning the game by scoring first during the overtime; the following week, the losing team plays again. But not in real life; once you die, whether suddenly or in a dreaded anticipation, there is no next week.
Dying in sleep may be the best way to go, but not when you are 40 years old, and never when you are not right with God. Actually, my first cousin also died while sleeping not too long ago of a heart attack. He was only 43 years old. I have no idea where Gerulaitis, who attended a Catholic high school, stood with God but my cousin knew the Lord. We were very sad but not because he didn’t make it to heaven. My cousin had that assurance for some time because he had long believed that “he who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life?” (1 Jn. 5:12).
What about you? Do you have the Son? Do you personally believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who died for you sins? If you do, then are you living in such a way that you are always ready to meet God regardless of when He calls you home? Since “this very night your life [may] be demanded from you” (Lk. 12:20), let us live as if today is our last. So forgive, today. Be generous, today. Pray, today. Make that call to that friend, today. And if you don’t know Christ, then believe him, today!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. May I always be ready to meet You whenever and however that may happen. May I always forgive those who wronged me. May I always ask for forgiveness from those whom I have wronged. And may I live a life of generosity in all areas. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: John 14-15