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Home The Light Articles from 2010 The Passenger's Side

The Passenger's Side

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 Etched on the passenger-side mirror of later model vehicles is the warning, "Objects may be closer than they appear." I am struck with how soberingly true this is of many expe­riences in life. There are many "ob­jects" we are very aware of, common things we know are forthcoming, but suddenly they are upon us. They were closer than we had considered.

I think of health and the way we abuse our bodies with bad eating habits, life styles, addictions. In the back of our minds we intend to change, do better, to quit. We know that our direction is not good and the consequences of health complica­tions are possible unless there is change. But too often change is pushed to the future, something we are "going to do." But the "Objects (disease, heart attack, death) may be closer than they appear," and we hear the doctor saying, "I'm sorry, but tobacco has ravaged your lungs-you have cancer," or the death certificate simply reads "acute myocardial infarction"-massive heart attack.

Think of training the children, and how very important to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." They are so-soon-too-soon gone. Parents can become so wrap­ped up in the physical responsibilities of "raising the kids" that the really important things we sincerely mean to instill, the matters we fully intend to tutor and train them in, becomes a mist, lost in the background of busy­ness. But in a moment, and to our surprise, the kids are grown. We are very aware that this day will come, but ignore that the "object may be closer than it appears." And in but a short hour, training time is gone.

We love the church. We think of her future, what we want for her, what we pray for. We acknowledge that in not many years (or days) we will pass, and so, we entertain good thoughts of what we can do to insure her purity for generations to come.

The men think of good, solid, faith building sermons they can prepare-of worthy sermons to indoctrinate the local congregation in fundamentals of the faith. Leadership acknowl­edges that decisions must be made if we protect the church from false and liberal influences. But little is done, and we find the feared objects of false doctrine taking hold, good peo­ple being corrupted by the appeals of "freedom" and liberalism. Too late we wake up. These "Objects of error have been closer than they appear­ed." We lose our people to entertain­ment, to personalities, to the cunning of error, and the church's covenant purity is lost because we saw these errors as distant dangers-"possibilities" but never "probabilities."

Think of consequences-the end of a matter, the effect resulting from an action (or lack of action). Conse­quences are too often ignored. But consequences are inevitable. There is no greater fool than one who consis­tently refuses to consider the effect that will come as a result of choice or action. Consequences are often near.

Consider those who preach or practice error. Consider the heretic. Consider those who have embraced

denominational doctrines. In due process, these are all subjects for disciplinary action. The church ad­mits the great danger that these mem­bers may influence others, and lead­ership intends to handle the matters, but leadership does nothing. This "Object (possibility of losing others) may be closer than the loss appears." Thus, "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" (Eccl. 8:11). And it is too late.

Then, of common life there is the most obvious application of the etch­ing, "Objects may be closer than they appear"...the end of all this, death and dying. How many times did we hear bro. Ernest Cogburn say, "Life is a brittle thread." His very own passing, a result of a tragic accident -wholly unexpected-proved him quite correct. Brittle indeed.

I think of the many we have laid to rest "before their time" (in our opin­ion). Brothers and sisters in Christ so unexpectedly ushered into eternity. Not that these loved ones were neces­sarily young in years, but with their passing, we learned of death what we did not want to learn: "Objects may be closer than they appear."

How old are you? Young or old, do you know that multiplied thou­sands before you have died at exactly your age? Maybe millions. Death is out there. We know it. We acknowl­edge it. We have no inclination to ignore it. But it is so easy to forget that death and judgment are "Ob­jects that may be closer than they appear." Consider the etching.



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