Ecc 12:1  Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;Ecc 12:2  While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:Ecc 12:3  In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,Ecc 12:4  And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;Ecc 12:5  Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:Ecc 12:6  Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.Ecc 12:7  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

My youngest son’s wedding was quickly approaching and we were caught up in all the hectic preparations. He showed up for an event wearing a shirt that was printed with a drawing of a bride and groom holding hands with the slogan “game over” written on it. Seeing that caused me to stop and consider how fast one thing comes to an end and another thing begins. I can remember my wedding day. It ended  one phase of my life and started another. I have experienced many phases of life. They have all passed quickly. You can live for many years but it only takes minutes to scroll through the memories of all that has happened in the years you’ve lived. I was a child raised by loving parents. I became a young man and took a bride. We raised four children. We have labored in the work of the ministry all of our adult years. Our children have embarked upon their own callings. We have grandchildren who have given us much joy. My Grandmother, who has been in heaven for many years, always said that if she knew how much fun the grandchildren would be, she would have had them first. We have bid farewell to many others who have finished their course ahead of us.

The opponents we face change with each new phase of our life. When I was young I struggled with pride and selfishness. It’s easy to feel invincible when you’re full of energy and ambition. This is a condition that affects mostly younger people. The Lord gave our church a young man named Jeremy Schott. He found Christ through our ministry and became my youth Pastor. He was attending a Bible college about forty miles from home. He told me that he could read a book in one hand, eat a breakfast sandwich in the other and drive with his knee while going ninety miles per hour on the interstate. He also poked fun at me for being paranoid when I would protest such behavior. He married and soon had five children. He became more cautious as he figured out that the Lord will let bad things happen to good people. He sends the rain on the just and the unjust. We are not exempted from the dangers of the world. As a matter of fact, God uses earthly circumstances to help prepare His children for eternity.

I have found that the Bible does more than teach us about life. It explains life to us. The passage in Ecclesiastes explains why our strength diminishes and our senses grow dull. We must go to our long home that awaits us. God’s word is the explanation for all of life’s circumstances. As we grow older we face an opponent that used to be an ally. It is our own body. We used to depend upon its strength but now have to depend upon God’s strength to make it keep serving. I have had so many older people tell me that they still think as they did in younger years but that their body limits their ability to do what they desire. The desires of the body competed against our better judgment when we were young but as we grow older the weakness and infirmity of the body competes against our mind. God breathed life into Adam and he became a living soul. We use the word mind to describe our ability to reason and make decisions. I heard someone say that he had lost many things in life but he missed his mind the most. I don’t believe we can lose our mind. I do believe our body can lose the capability to be used by our mind. The heart is the organ that sends life-giving blood to the body. The brain is the organ that sends commands from our mind to the body. We all experience sorrow when someone we care about suffers from dementia or other conditions that impair brain function. I believe that in such cases the mind is still there because it is part of the soul, but the brain is no longer able to respond to its promptings. I’m not suggesting that I understand the medical science behind my statement. I am confident that when we leave the body that our minds will be clear.The body is going to die. We do not know when or how. It may be sudden and while we are still healthy and vibrant. It may be slow and take many years. Death to the life we are familiar with may come through dementia or other brain diseases. We are all going to feel that our time here wasn’t long no matter how many years it lasted. There will come a day when the phrase “game over” will apply to each one of us. We must finish our course and compete until the very end.

Norma Nalley was one of the Godliest women I’ve had the privilege of working with. She died of cancer in her sixties. Her favorite hymn was titled “It Will Be Worth It All”. She attended church services until her last few weeks of life.  She would ask that we sing her favorite hymn. As tears would flow down her cheeks you could tell that she really believed the words she was singing, She kept the faith and convinced many people that it will be worth it all. You may lose many competitions in life, but winning eternal life requires that you defeat your ultimate opponent, which is unbelief in Christ.

Act 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Mat 16:25  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Mat 16:26  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?