As a pastor, I’m often called upon when life “vanishes like a mist.” One of the most powerful examples I’ve seen of this was Stan Gerlach, a successful businessman who was well-known in the community. Stan was giving a eulogy at a memorial service when he decided to share the gospel. At the end of his message, Stan told the mourners, “You never know when God is going to take your life. At that moment, there’s nothing you can do about it. Are you ready?” Then Stan sat down, fell over, and died. His wife and son tried to resuscitate him, but there was nothing they could do—just as Stan had said a few minutes earlier.
Imagine what it must have felt like for Stan. One moment, he was at a memorial service saying to the crowd, “This is who Jesus is!” The next, he was before God hearing Jesus say, “This is who Stan Gerlach is!” One second he was confessing Jesus; a second later, Jesus was confessing him! It happens that quickly. And it could happen to any of us. In the words of Stan Gerlach, “Are you ready?”
It’s easy to hear a story like Stan’s and just move on, without acknowledging that could just as easily be you or me whose life ends suddenly. You could be the next person in your family to die. We have to realize it. We have to believe it enough that it changes how we live. Friends, we need to stop living selfish lives, forgetful of our God. Our lives here are short, often unexpectedly so, and we can all stand to be reminded of it from time to time. Remember that nothing matters except our King and God.
by Francis Chan