I Saw A Dead Man Last Week

I guess it really affected me. My wife and I were returning from our morning walk when we were halted by a long line of traffic. This was more than the typically early morning rush. Something must be up. Then we saw smoke rising up from across the highway. Something was on fire. I assumed it was one of those antique vans or pickup trucks that you see occasionally in flames on the side of the road.

As we got up to the wreckage, we could see that the smoke was billowing up from a white car, which had crashed into a larger red car and had careened off the road. But then we saw more. There, in the middle of the highway was what was left of another red car. It looked like it had been through an automobile crusher. What was left of it was about the size of my office desk. We couldn’t help but gawk at the wreckage scattered along the road for twenty to thirty yards or so. Then we saw him.

A young man, probably in his late thirties, early forties, lay sprawled out on his back in the middle of the debris. Some nice person had placed a shirt over his face – but he was obviously gone. First responders had left him there and were attending other victims. There was nothing to do for him now.

That got me thinking. This young guy didn’t wake up this morning knowing it was his last one. He probably had a “do list” like me – get to work, get stuff done, have a lunch meeting, shuffle paperwork and then hurry home. Was he married? Did he have young children? Did they even know yet? How life as they knew it would change – all in a brief moment. It made us so very thankful for our lives, our health, our marriage, family and friends.

Then I noticed the miles of traffic that were stacked up behind the wreck side of the highway. People hurrying to work and probably very annoyed. These folks didn’t know what had just happened. They didn’t know that at least one person was not ever going to go to work again, or see his family. They too, just wanted to hurry up and get things done on their lists. Anyway, they didn’t know the guy.

The Bible tells us that our life is  but a “vapor” or a “breath”. We are here on this planet for an amazingly short time – and for what? To get more money, climb the corporate ladder, sock money away in our 401(k) so we can retire someday and play golf or fish? Is that it? Are we really going to be content to just go to church on Sunday, attend a small group or Bible study, learn some new principles for living and try not to sin too much along the way?

Colossians 3 says we “have been risen with Christ”. We are citizens of heaven – now. We have an amazing opportunity to cooperate with God in bringing His kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven”. We don’t have to wait until we die to experience a moment-by-moment walk with Jesus. Eternal life starts now – not then.

None of us knows what today has in store, much less tomorrow. What kind of wake do you want to leave behind you when it is your time? Do you want people to remember you as a guy with lots of toys, or an avid hunter/fisherman; a scratch golfer; a nice guy; or even a successful businessman? Seeing that young man on the road made me rethink what I really want to do today, what I really want to be today – what am I doing that really matters?

Our lives matter. Let’s experience more of God today, and see where He leads us and what He accomplishes through us. Let’s move Him to the top of our “do list” and trust Him with our days. We don’t know how many we have left.