To Die Beautifully

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Psalm 116:15

Gracie and I walked along the edge of the wood and marveled at the brilliant colors in the carpet of fallen leaves at our feet. During a communion service, I thought about those leaves, and I asked myself, “Why does God so paint the leaves only to have them fall and die?”

I’ve seen dead plants. I’ve been the death of many a bean sprout or geranium. You might say I have a “black thumb,” because if I care for a plant, its time is short. I’ve seen them turn that sickly pale yellow, and then wither away to a pale brown husk. So why is it, when autumn comes to the Midwest, God dresses the dying leaves, not in the pale brown of the grass and brush, but flaming crimson, brilliant orange, bold yellow, deep purple, soft gray, and many shades of woody brown? As I was reflecting on the sacrifice of Jesus, I thought perhaps that the leaves might teach us the importance of dying beautifully.

Jesus came to die. That was the purpose of everything He lived and taught. But He did not just die, He took all our sins and their ultimate, final consequence to the cross. He died so that we all might die vicariously in Him, and live eternally—not vicariously, but really and truly first-person living—with Him. God’s most beautiful masterpiece was painted in blood on a piece of discarded wood.

The truth is, all of us are dying. From the moment we first cry out, every beat of our hearts is one beat closer to our last. We are all moving toward the end of our mortal lives. God has not called us to just die, but to die sacrificially, giving our all in service to Him and our brothers; to die with His praise on our lips, giving Him the glory for all the good we have done; to die beautifully, “precious in the sight of the LORD.”

That’s something to think about.

Published by Rob

I teach, therefore I am.

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