Although king of ancient Macedonia for less than 13 years, Alexander the Great changed the course of history. One of the world’s greatest military generals, he created a vast empire that stretched from Macedonia to Egypt and from Greece to part of India. This allowed for Hellenistic culture to become widespread.
On his death bed, Alexander the Great summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:
- The best doctors should carry his coffin;
- The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones etc.) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery; and
- His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see!
One of his generals, who was surprised by these unusual requests, asked Alexander to explain.
Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:
1. I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal.
2. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth.
3. I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is TIME.
4. We do not take to our grave any material wealth, although our good deeds can be our travelers’ cheques. TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time.
5. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life!
6. So my dear, the best present that you can give to your family and friends, is your TIME. May God grant you plenty of TIME and may you have the wisdom to give it away so that you can LIVE, LOVE and DIE in peace.
The Bible book of Job 14:5 (New International Version) says this … “ A person’s days are determined; you (God) have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” And Psalm 139:16 (New International Version) says this … “your (God’s) eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
So do these scriptures mean that our final day and hour of life on earth is predetermined, that our fate is sealed, and there is nothing what-so-ever we can do about it?
Well, “yes and no.”
Here’s what I mean by “yes and no.” It has everything to do with “perspective,” … GOD’S perspective, and OUR perspective. And our two perspectives are vastly different. Why? Because God is omniscient, i.e. “all knowing,” and we are not. So for God the answer is that he DOES indeed “know” precisely the day, hour and minute that each of us will die. And there is nothing that we can do to change or alter the time and circumstances that God “knows” concerning our death.
And while he might change his mind and grant us more time, only he will still “know.” Or, we might decide to commit suicide, but only he will still “know.”
On the other hand, WE HUMANS only know the fact that physical death is absolutely certain for each and every one of us at some time in the future.
In Genesis 6:3
God limited Mankind’s span of life to no more than 120 years. That remains true today eons later, even with our huge advances in medical science. The media recently reported that the then “oldest person on earth” had died … at age 117. Today in America the average lifespan is 78.6. Denmark leads the world with 80.7. But ALL die!
We, all of us, have an unavoidable future appointment with physical death (what doI mean by this?) After our death who we are (made in The Image of God- unseen) must then stand before God and give an account of our lives in relation to God and His commands. 1 Peter 1:17 says this, “And remember that The Heavenly Father to Whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of Him during your time here as temporary residents.”