RDekker Blog ThumbA Dose of Mortality

A Surprising Blessing from Above

By Pastor Robert Dekker

During the Summer of 2015, sadly, we have had to face mortality, even to see two young journalists murdered on live TV, to be made aware of the slaying of those church attenders in Charleston or the military recruiters in Chattanooga.  We have been informed of the brutal killings of Christians at the hands of ISIS.  Within our own church family, we have lost loved ones due to personal tragedy and recently one of our church members due to disease (Sara White).  Mortality is not something we enjoy facing.

One of the harshest phrases uttered by Jesus during His 3 year ministry leading to Calvary’s cross, can be found in Luke’s parable about the Rich Hoarder.  Within that story line in Luke 12, we are introduced to an unnamed entrepreneur who seems to be blessed with success.  In fact, that man’s bottom line is too good; Jesus tells us that he did not have room enough to receive all of his increase.  It is here that a divine dose of mortality is administered:

20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’  (Luke 12:20)

The concept of “mortality” is potent, but so often is not apprehended by our finite attention span until it becomes personal.  Mortality comes from the root word “MORT” which has to do with death and is defined as, “the quality or state of being a person or thing that is alive and therefore certain to die.”
Mortality is a fact of human life.  Ever since the promised curse (see Genesis 2:17 “for in the day you eat of this you will surely die”) was applied by God the Father upon Adam & Eve, every natural descendant has naturally experienced this death (except for the intervention of God with Enoch & Elijah).  You can see this understanding in both the OT  (Job 14:1) and NT (Hebrews 9:27):

Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.  (Job 14:1)
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.  (Hebrews 9:27)

The “Dose of Mortality” is not the fact that our days have been numbered  (Psalm 90:12); it is the conscious awareness of that fact.  The cognitive recognition of our physical humanity is not so surprising—as we recognize that we cannot fly like superman or walk on water like Jesus did.  What is surprising to us, is when we embrace that reality that we are NOT going to live forever on this earth… in our current state of being.


So often, this unwanted embrace is experientially generated when seeing the ravaging of war, enduring the tragedy such as a tsunami or category 5 hurricane, or when one is shocked by the sudden death of a loved one.  It also is verbally generated in us by those who speak with authority in our lives:  (1) The dreaded diagnosis delivered by an oncology doctor or (2) that uncomfortable sermon delivered by an expository preacher {who may be preaching from texts like Romans 6:23 or Heb. 9:27}.

So how can it be considered a blessing?  It may surprise you and me to receive this increased elevation of our faith (ie:  to a higher “helicopter view”), but that is what happens when we get to see “life” from God’s higher perspective  (as a whole life, not just one day at a time).

In Jesus’ parable in Luke 12, this potent divine statement was not necessarily uttered as a condemnation.  The prosperous man was indicatively living the life of a fool because he operated in this world as if there was no God, as if there would be no day of accountability because he did not anticipate dying. He was focused on the here-and-now, on his stuff & his personal enjoyment of that stuff.

Only a fool will live his or her life as if there is no death.  But for all of God’s children, who have been shown through the eyes of faith that there is to be no fear in dying (See I Cor. 15:55-57), every moment of this earthly existence is seen for what it is---and is cherished accordingly.  Having a dose of mortality frees us from the deception that this world is all there is…which was the firm conclusion of all to whom Noah had faithfully and unsuccessfully preached for over century (See 2 Peter 2:5).

It is so easy to fall prey to Satan’s subtle suggestions to “eat, drink, and be merry.”  The appeal of an easy life without troubles is so very inviting; it solicits our participation to eliminate all the trials, the misunderstandings, and even the violence.  You can see it within the presidential election cycle going on in our country now, as candidates will be doing their best to vividly paint the picture of their utopia---where one can finally forget the troubles and just be happy.  If the candidate is capable, he or she will be presenting their pathway towards that blissful shore, which oddly enough will include some initial sacrifices from us.

But as a preacher of God’s word, I can assure you that there will be no fix that will eliminate our mortality.  There is no implementable idealism that will enable us to live on- and- on….except through what our Savior has alone secured.  His remedy intentionally does not eliminate human physical suffering on this side of glory, but it does give us grace to live the life that is before us and to engage in the good things that our Sovereign God has prepared for us to be doing (Eph. 2:10).  His solution was to taste of death in our place, for the immortal to humbly substitute himself for mere mortals (see Phil. 2:5-8).

When you get your next dose of mortality, in whatever form it is sovereignly administered,  I encourage you to take a deep breath and take it all in----and then to thank God for showing you a clearer glimpse of the future---pointing us to value even more what Jesus has been doing in going ahead of us to glory….to prepare a home for us there (see John 14:1-6).

It is blessing from God that He would open our eyes, enabling us to see this world and its timetable from more of His divine perspective.  You have heard the question, “For what is your life?”  In James 4:14, James answers with the analogy of a vapor--- it is here for a moment and then it is gone.  Nevertheless, our rather short lives (at least compared with eternity) are precious.  So in Christ, whether we have a cancer diagnosis, insufficient cardiac and circulatory functions, damaged brain tissues caused by a moving blood clot, or simply from failing bodily systems due to genetics or even aging, we do not have to fear the judgment day which be experienced after we breathe our last earthly breath.

In Luke 12:20, Jesus states that “this night” your soul will be required.  Within that story line, Jesus implies an urgency of all of us to get right with God!  The urgency is because…. WE ARE MORTAL!  But praise God, we also know that this mortal body will one day put on IMMORTALITY (I Cor. 15:54); ….and so shall we ever be with our Lord in that new estate.