I’m up to the third chapter of Ecclesiastes in my lectio divina study and the phrase that catches my attention is that we all have “a time to die.” Ecclesiastes 3:2. Death is all over the news these days — what celebrity has contracted the virus and died; what the death toll is throughout the United States and the world; what are the biggest “risk factors” that increase your odds of dying from this scary disease. People are worried about what to do. Should we wear masks all of the time? Only inside? Only in crowds? Should we refrain from as much social contact as possible? And now, a new question — is it safe to get the vaccine?
According to the Bible we all have a time to die, and God is the one who is in charge. Here are some verses that support this conclusion:
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Matthew 6:27
“Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass….” Job: 14:5
“My times are in your hand …” Psalm 31:15
Now I am not saying we should take crazy risks, or pay no attention to doing things that are healthy and increase your ability to stay well. Caring for our body is part of good stewardship — it is one of the things God has given to us. I am saying it’s wrong to get obsessed or fearful about the many things that can end our lives. This is simply another way of turning in upon ourselves and it has a name: SIN.
There is also an outer limit to the normal human life span:
“The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty ….” Psalm 90:10
Guess what, I am already there, so any days I have left are indeed a gift from God! At this stage of my life I can easily say along with Paul, “to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21. I’ve accomplished the major tasks of life, and when I die, I’ll be free of all my aches, pains, and worries as I enjoy the presence of God.
There is one piece of advice that God gives about extending our life:
“The fear of the Lord prolongs life …” Prov. 10:27
“And if you walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments… then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kings 3:14
So, wear your masks; avoid large gatherings, but don’t worry. Don’t give up attending church and studying the Bible; don’t give up serving others. The best way to stay healthy is to fear God and follow His teachings.
For more on the book of Ecclesiastes see: