Tuesday, March 25, 2014

But Once

Hebrews 9:27   And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

         He was a high school friend.
         I couldn't really say that he was a best friend, or even a close friend, but I did count him a friend. When we were both 16, we occasionally hitched rides together during the summer, thumbing our way to the beach. On various occasions, we would encounter one another at a Friday or Saturday night party. His name was David Smith.
         We weren't best friends, couldn't be called good friends, but we were friends. 
         We were standing outside a local hamburger stand in Whittier, California, directly across the street from the high school we had graduated from just the year before. He was talking with some friends, and I was talking to some other friends, and though I knew he was there, I hadn't spoken to him.
         As I turned to leave, Dave called to me and said "Hey, David! Catch you later!" I can remember turning to him and saying, "Yeah, we'll see you around!" 
         That was the last time I saw him alive. 
         Later that same day, David Smith climbed on to his Honda café racer motorcycle and, after taking a variety of drugs, drove face first into a pick-up truck parked by a curb. 
         David was killed instantly.
         We had a party immediately after his funeral. One of our friends remembered David saying that he didn't want a sad gathering at his funeral but that he would rather have a party. A good sized group of his high school friends got together that day, and we all partied, drank, and cried. 
         David Smith was 18 years old.
         Though I wasn't a Christian at that time, I distinctly remember feeling that life was getting increasingly shorter. As a teen, you can feel invulnerable. You can feel like you will live forever. Because of this, it especially strikes home when one of your friends dies. It has a way of waking you up. It reminds you that you aren't in control. You are not the captain of your own ship or the master of your own destiny. In reality, like the Bible says, you are simply a vapor, a temporary blip on the screen.
         You are here today, you will be gone tomorrow.
         David's death made an impression on me. It was eventually one of the ingredients the Lord used to bring me to Him. It is appointed unto men once to die, the scripture says.
         And after death, the judgment. 
         How grateful I am to know that, if the Lord should tarry and I should die, that my way has been directed towards the Lord. Today, we will inevitably come into contact with many we expect to see tomorrow, or the next day, or the next. The fact is, tomorrow is promised to no one. Let us endeavor to keep that in mind the next time we come into the David Smith's of our lives, the ones who are waiting to meet the Lord. God help us to lead many to the saving knowledge of the Lord. Let us lift up heavy hands, and continue leading people to Jesus, today.

No comments: