By Rick Lewers
The second part in a short series that explores the ultimate end of us all.
In William Shakespeare's seven stages [from the play As You Like It], he moves us through the wonder of childhood, the pursuit of truth in adolescence, to the fulfilment of love in the adult years, and we finally end in old age that longs for security. There wonder fades with the breakdown of the body. Truth brings the reality of a terminus for earthly existence. Love will soon be a thing of the past if death is the end of all consciousness.
Where then, does one find security that can regain wonder, know the truth and enjoy the love?
Security is an interesting thing that I would argue only God can give in this life and in the next. Without God, living in the plethora of modern ideas, security has become illusive while anxiety has become prevalent. Without a compass to guide and with nothing to hope in, anxiety will remain the epidemic of our century. It will also bring human carnage as fear and worry morph into a grasping individualism where the most important person in the world is "Me". But you will die and then what?
Somewhere behind a conversation with Jesus and the question of a certain ruler, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" was the desire for security. Two thousand years ago another rich young bloke by worldly standards desired exactly the same thing that drives us – security.
His need for security may have been hidden behind bravado as young people's needs often are. He may, like many a proud ruler have simply wanted to hear someone important acknowledging his future beyond the grave was secure. Or maybe beneath all the luxuries of wealth, the exuberance of youth and the pride of power he knew all was not well with his soul.
Have you ever known that experience of an "all is not well with my soul?"
What was he asking? He wanted to know how to prepare for death so one minute after he died he would be ok. I think this man was smarter than most people because he at least had the good sense to ask the question.
Now the answer Jesus gives is critical.
Jesus tells him that he lacks one thing. In other words one thing is absolutely crucial for a future with God. Jesus tells him, "Sell everything and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me."
It would be easy to misunderstand what Jesus is saying here. Jesus doesn't tell everyone to sell everything and give it to the poor but for this man his money and power were his security, keeping him in first place in this life while denying God first place in his life and jeopardizing his life into eternity.
When Jesus says to him, "Come follow me", the man gets the answer to his question, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" and the one thing he lacks. He needs a saviour and that's Jesus. Jesus is the man's security and a treasure more valuable than the sum of his net worth.
To follow Jesus this man would have been taken to the cross where in death a price was paid for the forgiveness of sins, and to the resurrection of Jesus where the promised hope of eternal life is given. In Jesus the man would discover his inheritance for the life to come – forgiveness from a saviour and life eternal.
Where then, does one find security that can regain our wonder, know the truth and enjoy the love? Before you die and one minute after you die the answer is Jesus Christ, God's Son.•