Due to unexpected developments, I recently found myself in a hospital, being monitored by an electrocardiogram machine. Suddenly, the staff sprang to action when they noticed that my heart rhythm had flatlined. For a span of eight seconds I had no heartbeat, and the pulse remained very sporadic for another minute or so. After the initial flatline, CPR was administered, bringing me back to consciousness.
Physically, this was a watershed event which will cast a lingering effect over the remainder of my earthly pilgrimage. The subsequent installation of a pacemaker was meant to ensure that, should my heart again fail to generate sufficient, internal, electrical impulse to maintain a healthy pulse, the pacemaker will produce the necessary contraction of the heart muscle to send life-sustaining blood through the rest of my body.
Considered from a spiritual perspective, such traumatic events remind us just how tenuous life is in this world. If my heart had not restarted, my soul would be in the presence of God, my body in the grave. In light of the uncertainty and ultimate brevity of life, the New Testament urges us to “redeem the time” or, literally, to “buy up the opportunities.” In other words, we are charged with making the best use of the days that God grants to us in this world.
Incessantly we must make decisions on how to use our time and resources. When we thoughtfully evaluate the relative importance of certain actions in light of eternity, such analysis will help us sort through the myriad of opportunities that confronts and potentially distracts us. Not every activity will equally redound to the glory of God.
May God grant wisdom to enable us to make choices that reflect our profession of faith. Too many who bear the name Christian are bent on merely amassing earthly accomplishments, to the detriment of laying up treasure in heaven. None of us know when his flatline will become permanent.