Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:30-41
Key verse: (31a) “I die every day!”
Reflection: Gary Vaynerchuk was stopped in his car after being recognized by a lady walking down the street of New York City one afternoon. She ran up to the car, pulled out her phone, and as the video was rolling, she said, “Give me three words of inspiration to use when I am feeling down?!” With a serious smile, Gary quickly replied, “You’re gonna die!”
Gary Vaynerchuk is a Belarusian entrepreneur, investor, marketer, and CEO of VaynerX and founder of VaynerMedia. Would you say “you’re gonna die” are three inspirational words for your down days? Death is a difficult thing. It is hard to watch loved ones endure the pain of death, and it’s challenging to endure the grief of a loved one’s death. I certainly would not want to think of my mortality amidst days of uncertainty and anxiety, those blah-days. My three words would be “keep on fighting” as a push to overcome; or maybe “can you help” as an invitation for people to reach out to others in times of need. But Gary says that death — coming to terms with our own mortality — is the best motivation available.
Paul frames life in a similar way in his letter to the Corinthian community. They squabbled over the idea of bodily resurrection (among many other things), which prompted Paul to address it as he wrote. Paul, fighting the good fight of faith, was aware of the threat on his life. Paul’s life was lived so far on the edge for Christ, that his life was always in danger; there were always people out to kill him (e.g. Acts 23:12-13). Paul also understood that his life was not his own; he lived for Christ, thus he died to sin with Christ. But Paul, amid life-threats, boasts in the Corinthian community and in the resurrection hope found in Jesus Christ. If there is no resurrection, why go through so much turmoil for the sake of the gospel?
When we think about our baptism, we remember we die to sin and we rise with Christ. The Presbyterian Book of Order (Part II of our constitution) claims that in baptism, “we participate in Jesus’ death and resurrection.” If we remind ourselves each day “You’re gonna die,” we re-frame the beauty of our existence and begin to live a life that is beyond this life. Each day provides new opportunities to live the abundant life we are given in Christ. We can live a “well done, good and faithful servant” life. Each day provides opportunity to live in such a way that we would not be ashamed to die. We live for Christ and we die with Christ. So, remember this: you’re gonna die.
Prayer: From dust I was formed, and to dust I shall return. Oh Lord, I pray: take my life and let it be all for you; take my heart and let it sing all for you; take my body and let it move all for you. May your life be glorified in mine. Amen.
Author: Ben Brannan
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].