Death Is but a Doorway
Death confuses most of us. We fear it, and though we know it is inevitable, we would much rather not have to deal with it. We seek to isolate ourselves from its reality, turning the music up to drown out the ominous silence that accompanies it. Our denial is understandable; death is the hardest fact of life to face. Yet in our more sober moments, we realize that our lives are as precarious as a child’s sandcastle on the seashore: that sooner or later, the tide will come in and wash it all away.
As with all the issues it addresses, the Bible aims to reorient our perspective on death. Solomon, writing with the all-surpassing wisdom that God had granted him (see 1 Kings 3:5-12), said that death “is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” Likewise, Moses tells us that “a heart of wisdom” comes from our contemplating our limited number of days on earth, which “end like a sigh” (Psalm 90:9, 12). This is why we learn more about reality at a funeral in a “house of mourning” than at a party in a “house of feasting.”
While it may be tempting to try to shy away from death, then, wisdom looks like accepting that we must face it head on. In fact, the key to learning how to live is to be found in learning how to die. We will never know the reason for our earthly pilgrimage until we’ve come face to face with the fact of death, for it is death that lies at the end of every path. Without considering our death, we’ll end up like the one whose tombstone reads, “Here lies a man who went out of the world without knowing why he came into it.” Such is the lot of so many who spend day after day after day separated from Christ, “having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
But if by faith God has made you alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5), then you have already passed from the domain of death to the land of the living. You can say with Paul, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). For you, death is no longer an end that you must dread but the doorway to “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). And with that perspective on your final day, you will be ready to make the most of this day, endeavoring in all that you do to glorify the Lord, who has Himself triumphed over death and who will lead you through it (1 Corinthians 10:31).
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly
1A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
2It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
3Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
6For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.1
7Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,
and a bribe corrupts the heart.
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