Ecclesiastes:7 v 1 & part of V2
‘A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.’
‘... for death is the destiny of everyone, the living should take this to heart’
First thought: A bad name is like a bad smell- everyone screws their nose up and wishes to walk away! How conscious are we of our reputation? How conscious are we of our state of mind and the affect it has on others? How conscious are we of our deeds? Create awareness and create a good name so that it will always go before you.
As v2 says, ultimately we will all die and this verse gives the impression that everything we do should ultimately be aimed towards the time we leave this earth.
By contrast, birth is something we look forward to with great anticipation- a new life entering this world, a child as yet unknown whom we regard as being pure. Clay for our potter’s hand- incorrect of course however we as parents are under the illusion that we can mould our children! We cannot. What we can do is guide them in the ways we believe to be good and right. We bring them into our families, into our lives teaching them our beliefs, ethics, cultures and religious practices. We do not at any point think, ’I am preparing you for death,’ which would be totally inappropriate! It is actually the reality.
Each child is born with its own genetic make-up upon which we stamp our opinions. The expression, ’black sheep of the family,’ was very common place and applied to people who thought and acted differently to others within their circle. It does not mean there was anything wrong with that person in real terms. When you think about it, if people convert from one religion to another they are often cast aside by their loved ones. I wonder what God really thinks about that? After all, love knows no bounds, is patient, understanding and so on- especially forgiving, the cornerstone of the Christian religion. This is why we have to train ourselves to truly understand equality and appreciate the diversity within our world. God created the people you loathe, look down on, despise for their beliefs or habits. How do they view you?
So why is the day of death better than the day of life? Simple. We were born to die. Our journey through this world is a journey in which we are meant to share all the qualities of love, be compassionate, become wise, reach our potential by using the gifts God has given us, leave behind a legacy to benefit others, procreate and store up our treasures in heaven! You have to die in order to reach your destination- a bit like putting your ticket on the scanner before you can go through the barrier to board your train & start your journey, in this case your eternal life.
Have you ever stopped to think that death itself is love? If you believe in Jesus’ death you already know this yet do we think about it when friends or family, especially children, die before us? Death is love. It is an end to pain and suffering. Birth creates pain and death finishes it, leading us to the glory beyond or, for those who don’t believe in the ever after, it acts as a FULL STOP.
How do we embrace death? There is no mystery here. Our aim is to make the most of each day. Enjoy the here and now, use your talents and literally count your blessings giving God thanks and praise whilst living in the ways you believe to be right. That way when death comes to us we have lived a fulfilled life and the reality is we are ready; our work will have been done and we can pass peacefully into the ever after.
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