Remember when you never needed to look at the expiration date on milk to know that it was bad? Opening it up and taking one whiff was all you needed.
But then you would read the label and have justification to throw it out or your thinking would be challenged based on the expiration date. You would then ask whoever in the room to smell or taste the milk, which always leads to an interesting dialogue.
We live in a world where it seems everything has an expiration date branded on it. Manufacturers make this a practice either as per the regulations or to boost sales. As our Alaskan days of sunshine get longer and the evidence of spring bursts forth all around us, I am reminded of some ageless truths about the order of creation and the perspective of time found in the Bible.
In Ecclesiastes 3, we discover God’s beautiful but amazing world is too big for us, and its satisfactions are too small and fleeting. The author brings us through a range of ups and downs of life and writes, “there is a time for everything.”
Within the understanding of looking at life through different seasons, the overarching theme is that human life has an expiration date: “A time to be born and a time to die.” (Ecc. 3:2).
If our focus is just to live for the day, then we miss what really we were made for. Jesus combated the thinking of his day and challenged people’s view of life and how to order one’s world. Jesus discouraged people to buy into the idea and to say to oneself: “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ (Luke 12:19).
The looming question is, “If the claims of the Bible about eternity and God wanting to be in relationship with humanity are true: What is my response?” Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart;” God’s desire is to work out good in this world even as everything will eventually expire as His plan is to be an intimate relationship with His creation.
God also has put inside of humanity or each person the longing to find this relationship with Him as He has created our souls for eternity. The question for us is, “How will we respond to His love and grace?” God’s plan is for humanity to be with Him when our bodies expire for eternity because He has made us without an expiration date. Maybe it is time to take a whiff of our thoughts on eternity and being in a relationship with God!
Pastor Frank Alioto serves as a Chaplain with Central Peninsula Hospital and Central Emergency Services.