by Ken Gardner

Yesterday's paper told about an opera singer who died as he was performing on stage. Friday evening, tenor Richard Versalle, 63, suffered a fatal heart attack and fell ten feet from a ladder as he was singing the opening scene at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Ironically, the plot of the opera involved an elixir of eternal youth. What is even more ironic is that Mr. Versalle died just as he finished singing the line, "You can only live so long."

I know this is a tragic story, but it serves as a good reminder of the brevity of life. A gospel preacher once said that someone dies every day, and everyone dies someday. As distressing as it may be to discuss these matters, the fact of the matter is God wants us to talk about these things. He wants us to stop and think, to reflect on the brevity of life, and make proper preparation for the life to come. We are all, young and old alike, standing on the brink of eternity. This life is nothing more than a period of probation when we determine where we are going to spend eternity. The psalmist said, "We spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. . . . So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:9-12). He also wrote, "Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am" (Psalm 39:4).

Furthermore, God is pleading with us to consider how little time we have. He's begging us to be prudent and make the right decision. He told Moses, "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" (Deuteronomy 32:29). Please do not foolishly ignore God's pleadings. Remember--You can only live so long!