I’m not one to comment on everything that happens in our society and culture, especially when it involves celebrities, but the recent passing of Jimmy Buffett is an opportunity for me to remind us all of the obvious.
The obvious is that death doesn’t care if you are a billionaire or a pauper, it’s going to have its day with all of us.
We live in a sinful world where Satan has brought his war against God and his fight to malign God’s true character to our planet. Death is the result of our participation in Satan’s effort, but fortunately God has a plan to redeem us that includes our forgiveness, our restoration, and the ultimate banishment of Satan and sin.
So we all know that death is our inevitable lot in this life. We have seen others die and we all know one day we will too. Our financial worth will not stop it from happening. Fortunately, the day is coming when “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54), mortality will be replaced with immortality at the resurrection, and ultimately death will be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14) where it will be no more.
Our online world has been inundated with tributes to Jimmy Buffett and they are generally good for those whose lives have been influenced by his music and enterprises. The pictures in these tributes is what I find most captivating because they show the man’s aging progression. The photos have spanned 50 years of his successes from a young man in the 1970’s up to the final frail man at his last public appearance in Rhode Island.
It’s really the same for all of us, though. Pictures show the toll of time we’ve spent and the progression of aging on our earthly bodies. We all experience this transformation in our physical looks and I can’t help but to think that it ought to remind us that we are approaching our last grain of sand in the hourglass of our life.
There is a verse in Psalms that says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 NIV) and I don’t know what does that better than the aging process. Whether we look at old photos or glare into the mirror, aging is a reminder that we are steadily moving toward our dying day.
There once was a popular motivational trainer named Stephen Covey who used to teach a simple lesson which was, Begin with the end in mind. I don’t know why this is so absent from our lives. God tells us the same kind of thing when He said, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come” (Ecclesiastes 12:1 NIV). Beginning with the end in mind is simply considering how we went to end up.
If we all know we are going to die, why don’t we give it more thought and planning before that day comes? Of course I am referring to spiritual thought and preparation. We happily invest time and effort researching for a vacation trip or a destination cruise, so why not the same when it comes to our afterlife and chosen destination of Heaven or hell?
We certainly don’t know how much thought and preparation Jimmy Buffett gave to his death and the afterlife. We don’t know if he received a visit from the hospice chaplain or a clergyman or if he made any effort to seek the Lord’s grace in his dying days. However, we all can do something for ourselves before we end up on our own deathbed.
Anyone of us can open to the pages of the Bible and learn all we can about God’s plan of redemption. Anyone of us can accept the gift of God of eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23) and know that we face death in hope that “to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
May we all live our lives with the end in mind, and may Jimmy Buffett’s family and loved ones find peace in the Prince of Peace and in their memories for years to come.