‘——–Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope’ (1Chronicles 29:15)

These were among the final words of David. As time drew near for his death, he called together an assembly of the most prominent men in Israel. He acknowledged before one and all that his son, Solomon was to be king after him. He charged the assembly passionately to whole-heartedly follow the Lord and serve him.

It is said that a man is revealed by his last moments. When you stare at death, all of life’s masks fall off and you become what you truly are. Your greatest treasures are what you cling on to in the face of death- for many it is their near and dear ones who they seek at death, for others it is fond memories of what they have accomplished in life and for many it is the most precious thing they have earned during their life. For David, his greatest treasure was his relationship with God and he could not speak enough about it.

It is interesting that  a man as accomplished as David should say that life is like a shadow. A shadow is not the real thing, but a reflection of the true reality. So if the physical life here on earth is not the ultimate reality, what is? It is not hard to gather from the Bible that our spirits and soul which constitute the invisible component of who we are as human beings is the true reality- one that more accurately resembles the nature of God and one that will not die. Our physical life here on earth is a shadow that is cast upon the physical time-space continuum, that we call earth.

There are many implications. When a look at our shadow cast by a light, the shadow disappears when the light is put out, but we don’t. Our lives don’t end when we die and cease to exist here on this earth. We live on, but whether we live on in the realm of eternal life or eternal death depends on whether we align ourselves with life or death while here on earth. Aligning ourselves with life happens when we acknowledge the author of eternal life, God himself and Christ, his Son and ultimate revelation for us here on earth. In Christ’s own words

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over death to life” (John 5:24).

We could also choose to work on and build our shadows or alternatively our true selves with all we do here on earth. In a limited way, we do have the power to enlarge our ‘shadows’. It would be good to remind us that ultimately it is a futile exercise. We also have the option to work on our real selves by honoring God and doing what counts in his sight and know that our efforts will last into eternity. This also ensures that the shadow takes care of itself when our real selves are being built up. In fact when the true self enlarges, the shadow does not diminish, as many might be inclined to thinking, it in fact enlarges and results in a greater impact in this world.

And so it is hardly an irony that David, a man of many earthly accomplishments, should call his life a mere shadow. Fact is, it is that very realization that helped him to be a man of great success.

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