If you catch the news anywhere you've probably heard that Anna Nicole Smith died last week at the age of 39. My first thought was something along the line of: Well, she was under suspicion for her son's death and her life seemed to be unravelling, so it's probably just as well she died and doesn't have to deal with all that.
Later Dana and I were talking about it and she said her initial reaction was basically the same, then she began to think, No matter how horrible her life was, her death has cast her into a place far, far worse than anything this life could throw at her. I don't presume to "judge" Ms. Smith (or anyone else), for that is God's job, but everything I know about her leads me to the conclusion that she was not living for God and therefore she is now in torment. When you look at her death in that light it is truly tragic--she has no more time to repent and be saved.
All too often we look at people just like Anna Nicole--their life is such a mess death is a blessing, but such is not true. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should repent. He gives them time to repent, but finally death comes and they just ran out of time.
Brethren, do we comprehend that everyone who is not in Christ cannot afford to die--they will be lost eternally. Nor can we take their imminent death casually. We need to work all the harder to rescue those who are closest to death, while they still have time. Until we see people as they really are, lost and on the road to eternal torment, we will not feel the urgency of teaching others. Both Matthew and Mark record an occasion when Jesus saw the multitudes "as sheep without a shepherd" and was moved with compassion for them. I'm sure He would view most people today in the same light--lost, not having a clue where or how to go, following the devil blithely into the lake of fire and brimstone. Jesus' reaction was "he began to teach them many things". What is your reaction?