“In most cases, something has died to give us life.” – Norman Grubb
I’m one hour out from being at the funeral of a great man. And I’m a few seconds removed from having read the above statement. So forgive me as I sit in the space that these two events have suddenly and surprisingly created within me as I ponder the relation of death to my life.
How dependent I am on death for life!
For me to have the leather for my shoes, death was required. For me to have the cotton for my clothes, death was required. For me to have the wood for my desk, death was required. For me to have the food that I will consume today, to sustain my very existence, death was required. For me to have a roof over my head, death was required. Even the oxygen I breath in every moment gives its existence completely up so that I might live.
It’s embedded in the fabric of my daily experience. I’m completely dependent on death to have life.
And this may be the first time I’ve acknowledged it with such awareness and gratitude.
And that’s the thing, I think. Awareness and gratitude. These days, people have divided into opposing camps: some people fight for the rights of those things that are dying to give man his life, some people fight for the rights of man to kill those things to have the life he has.
Both sides have merits, I think. I don’t want things to die for nothing of real value to man, but I don’t want man to miss out on things of real value just because it requires death to receive them.
It’s a dilemma.
I have felt it most poignantly in the story of Christ. When I hear the story, I never want to Jesus to die in it. But I want the life that he says I can have only if he does, too. I’m like he was in the Garden before he was drug off to be crucified, praying, “God, if there is any other way, let this cup be taken from him.”
It’s in the Bible’s story, and it’s in my daily story – someone or something’s death is the price for me to have my life.
I don’t think Jesus would want me try to convince him not to do it for me, nor would he want me to fight against it happening (Peter tried both – see Mt 16:23 & Jn 18:11). I think what he wants is for me to have…
…awareness and gratitude.
And then, everything that these two things bring, when they are with me, gives praise.
When I’m aware and grateful for all the things in creation that die to give me life, I won’t misuse creation. I’ll utilize it’s sacrifice…but I’ll also enjoy it, admire it, protect it, and care for it.
When I’m aware and grateful for Jesus who died for me to give me life, I’m not inclined to misuse him, take him for granted, or “live however I want since I’m forgiven”. I enjoy him, I admire him, I serve him, and I praise him. I live a life of love…
…when I’m aware and grateful.