By Pastor John Mateos Ong
30 years ago I wrote a song called “Pagsubok.” I was still in college then. It was a certified triple platinum; but I never wrote anything after that. There is a verse in the Bible that says God will hold you accountable for the talents that He gave you, and I took that to heart. I was actually an atheist when I wrote my first song.
On August 2017, I joined the Filipino Song Composer, Arranger and Producer (FILSCAP) song-writing camp. On my first day, the facilitator asked us to take out our unfinished songs. I panicked because I had nothing on me while everyone already had a head start. Not having written anything for the past three decades, I knew I was rusty, and nervous was actually an understatement to what I was feeling at that time. From that time on, I locked myself in my room and did not talk to anybody. I wrote and threw away so many pieces of paper until I decided to write about the fact that I did not have anything to write at all. Until a guy approached me and said he would help. So I asked him to play his guitar while I wrote my song on the fly. It took me about an hour to finish while he was playing. While writing, I remembered a question my son asked me, which was, “When will you die?” And as much as I wanted to get angry and ask him what kind of question that was, God actually gave me an answer through a song.
I know that I don’t have forever
That my time fades each day
But the days I will have with you
I consider it most dear.
There is one thing for sure. We will not stay here forever. There is no such thing as forever. Why? Even your life is not forever. Nothing is forever. Everyday when you wake up, especially during this pandemic, when delta was still rampant, you thank God that you wake up another day to live and breathe. But everyday you live brings you a day closer to death. In this song, death should not be feared. Knowing that every day brings us closer to death should make us appreciate time. Everyday that God has given you is a chance to do something. But sometimes, you are actually wasting that time. Length is not as important as quality. You may have a long life but you did not do anything. It is better to have a short life well lived.
Every year and every hour
God has set when He made me
Not a second late or early
And someday He’ll take me.
On the day you were born, God already set the day you will die. Nothing can lengthen or shorten your stay here on earth. You will be taken on the day God wants you back.
Have you ever asked yourself this question?
What is life?
How you view life will dictate how you live it. Just like money, how you view it will be how you spend it. The reason why I am a shopper today is because my dad told me that money is just a piece of paper. So when I get a hold of it, I have to let it go. How you view women will dictate how you treat them. If you look at them like your mother, you will respect them. But if you look at them like a thing, you will just use them and take them for granted.
This is a very important question. When you look at a person, how he is is a result of how he sees life.
Some say life is a game. Win or lose, it is what it is.
To some, life is a race. They always want to be first.
Some say life is a roller coaster. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down; sometimes you’re happy and sometimes you’re sad.
To some, life is a circus. There are times it is funny and scary, you see animals, and some people are wearing masks. If you do not like one act, wait for the next one.
Some say life is a journey. Life is not just about the final destination. You have to enjoy how you get there.
But what is the correct viewpoint?
This is home
Where there’s no pain and no more sickness
No ore death and no more hurt
I know I’m home
The home is supposed to be a safe place. And this song tells you that this world is not your home. That is why it is normal that you have problems and get sick. Death is the beginning of your eternal life. In your eternal life, you will spend it in your real home. Revelations 21:4 says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Paul told the church in Thessalonica, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” Do you believe in Jesus and that someday He will come again? If you do, then your reaction to death should not be like that of other people who do not know Jesus. But why is it that when somebody dies, you get very sad. But while the person is alive, you take them for granted. You speak at their eulogy and tell other people how much you loved him. But have you ever told them that when they were still alive? The best time to appreciate someone is while they are still alive. Do not think that they will always be there anyway. One day, you will be surprised that they are not there anymore. Do that while you can.
Home with the Lord my creator
My Master who’s my Savior
I know I’m home
Death is going home with your master, the one who made you and the one who love you.
1. Life is a temporary assignment. You will only stay for a while. When you have a staycation at a hotel, you only bring a few stuff; enough clothes to last a few days. You do not bring you entire house, induction cooker and your refrigerator, because you are only staying for a while. Someday you will need to pass on your baton. The sad part is not being able to pass your baton to anyone and leaving them clueless when you die. Many are unprepared because they do not want to accept the fact that life is only a temporary assignment. John 15:9 says, “You are not of the world.” Christians are not from this world. Stop living as if this is your final destination. Your life on earth is a preparation for eternity. And when you get there, there will also be a celebration. Hebrews 13:14 says, “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” Traveling brings you to many beautiful places. But the most wonderful place on earth is nothing compared to the worst place in heaven. I think, when God was creating the world, He did not give it his very best; because He knew we would only be staying for a while. He made heaven perfect because that is your real home.
2. Life is a trust. When traveling by plane or by bus, there are stopovers. Stopovers have a purpose, just like in life. Do you know the purpose of your stopover? God entrusted many things to you. You were entrusted with time, talent and treasure. What are you doing with these things? Some sleep and play the entire day. Some use their talent in the wrong way. And some use money for vices too. Everything should be done in moderation. Too much of anything, good or bad, is not good. It is not a wise use of the trust given to you. If you still do not know your purpose, look at the three things. If you have so much money, maybe God is asking you to use it to help others. If you have so much time in your hands, maybe God is asking you to volunteer. If you have the talent, maybe God is asking you to use it for Him. How should you live since you know life is a trust?
So I just live each day like my last day
Knowing someday I’ll be right
Then I know that I have lived my life
To the full with fear of Christ
How do you live your life to the full? If you always think that every day was your last, you will not take it for granted. You will cherish each day. And if you live each day as your last, someday it will come true. How will it change your life if it is?
Deuteronomy 32:50 says, “There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people.” If God told you that you will die when you go to sleep tonight, how will it change your life? What are you going to do? When God told Moses that he was going to die, he wrote a speech and he told the Israelites how God has been faithful all those years. Philippians 1:23-24 “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” He was torn between wanting to live or die because God still has a purpose in his life.
Every second, every minute
Is a step to eternity
When His plan is someday made and done
Then that day He’ll take me
God will take you when His purpose and plan for you is already finished. As long as you are alive, God still has a plan for your life. You are immortal until God’s purpose for you is finished. Cancer and covid cannot kill you until God says so.
3. Life is a test. There is a leakage and it is answerable by true or false. God, surely, wants you to pass.
Everybody will die at one time of another. The word “rendezvous” means you will meet at a certain time and place. How will you know that a person has passed the test? Where is your meeting place in heaven? 2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” The judgement seat of Christ is the rendezvous point for believers. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial.” Be immovable to receive the crown of life which God promised to those who love Him.
The leakage came from King Solomon. The wisest of them all has experienced all that life has to offer. But all those things did not make him happy. When he wrote Ecclesiastes, in verse 12:13, he says, “Fear God.” Did you receive Jesus in this lifetime? This question is answerable by true or false. Your spirit should be th one to answer. With your heart, you should be able to say yes. Remember that you are immortal until God’s purpose is fulfillied.