When A Loved One Dies...

As usual, the world has it exactly wrong.

I recently watch a movie where Kevin Bacon's character personally transported the remains of a fallen soldier, bringing the soldier's body all the way back to his small hometown in rural America.

And there have been two men who've very recently passed away from falls in my small circle of acquaintances. Not good. We've got to be careful out there.

In many ways, Christianity helps us decide how to think and feel about our own mortality and what it all means, but it's also about how to live our lives in the face of that mortality.

How to carry on despite the disease, famine and war threatening to take us at any moment.

Tomorrow is promised to no one. - Walter Payton

Proverbs 27:1 "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring."

On the other hand, when Jesus needed to get things done and his followers wanted to make excuses about going back to bury the dead, Jesus said, "Let the dead bury their own dead."  (Matthew 8:22)

As always, the attitude of Jesus flies in the face of conventional "wisdom". Because everyone knows we're traditional Christians who bury our dead. Aren't we?  Doesn't family come first?

Well, yeah. About that...

Kevin Bacon in uniform in Animal House, A Few Good Men, and Taking Chance

It turns out you can't trust everything you learn about life from Kevin Bacon movies.

I think maybe we spend too much time watching Kevin Bacon pretend to be a soldier. We waste time on movies because we're looking for ways to waste time.

It's how we use up our short lives, waiting for the release of death to carry us away from our troubles at long last.

Wasting time is how we use our time.

Killing time is a miniature act of suicide. Because the hour you spent watching a Kevin Bacon movie is dead and gone. It's gone forever.

And soon, are all your friends will be just as dead as all the time you killed.

And the proof that we're suicidal is that we're experts in our favorite pop culture music, movies, and TV shows, but few of us know anything worth knowing about finances or world history. Especially the world history of how the devils screw ya.

We spend more time planning our vacations than planning for retirement.

There's a sinister reason why.

There's a time management book I think you should take a look at. It's written by an anti-PC libertarian who believes there's a worldwide conspiracy of time vampires to waste our irreplaceable time. (We'll get to it shortly.)

In end-of-life situations that pop up unexpectedly, people routinely taking a day off from work (or a week, sometimes a month) to make final arrangements for a loved one.

It's a bit like taking a maternity leave. The boss will understand. A replacement will be brought in to do your job so you can go through a few boxes of Kleenex in dignity.

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It's perfectly natural to want to honor the fallen heroes among us.

Now, before I express my own opinion, I can tell you nothing would make the devil happier than if you took a week off from work to celebrate each of the birthdays of each of your hundred friends on social media.

The resulting famine would kill hundreds of millions of people, so that's the reason why we sometimes go to over-the-top, narcissistic extremes in mourning the departed.

And we've got at least one major holiday every single month, sick days, paid maternity and paternity leave, workers taking off early EVERY Friday, and basically screwing around all day getting nothing accomplished at work.

You can't have the abundance and prosperity God wants for you and your cup won't run over when you're taking lots of unpaid vacations every single time one of your 8 grandmas, grandpas, step-grandmas and step- grandpas dies.

Or when you celebrate all the world's crazy monthly holidays. (God already gave you the holidays He wants you to celebrate.)

And without the proper guidance, mourning can get really extreme:
All Israel wept for Moses and Aaron for thirty days. 
Everyone's head is bald and every beard is cut off. In their streets they have girded themselves with sackcloth; On their housetops and in their squares Everyone is wailing, dissolved in tears. - Isaiah 15:2
"For every head is bald and every beard cut short; there are gashes on all the hands and sackcloth on the loins." - Jeremiah 48:37
God hates that stuff.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The Bible is full of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth at all the Biblical stuff that's happening to people.

But I happened to notice Jesus had a very different attitude...

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"Don't die on me. That would break my heart." - R. Lee Ermey
The crowds were astonished at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. - Matthew 7:29

"Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep." - Mark 5:39

"Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep." - Luke 8:52

The "follow me" attitude of gunnery Sargent Jesus H. Christ was sorta "follow me and let the dead bury their own dead." What else would you expect from the Lord of Armies?

I certainly wouldn't be surprised to find the deceived masses (whose thoughts are primarily ruled by the prince of this world, maybe even some of you) would violently defend your God-given libertarian right to "put family first" the way it's "always been done."

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Just like... do whatever, man.

You can give your heart to Jesus, but your ass belongs to the Marine Corps, twinkle toes.

Even though Jesus came around and specifically told you to knock it off and get back to work, or else the terrorists win, we seem to have a little trouble accepting his kind of hard-ass attitude around here. In fact, the Bible goes on and on about it.
"Brothers, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who are without hope." - 1 Thess 4:13 
You certainly don't want to be like the hypocrites, do you?

Jesus said he'd seen Abraham, which further reminds us that we'll see our loved ones again. For for the saints, death is temporary. This veil of tears has an end. That our body is the temple of God, and within us the kingdom, but it's merely a vessel for our true selves.

Why this attitude? Out of love for us. 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, and Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life, given all authority. (Matthew 28:18)

But funerals are highly lucrative, so whatever floats your houseboat, amirite?

The word isn't here to keep funeral directors in business. It's here to preserve the life God created. It's here to save your ass from those who hate you, weepy-eyes.

You're supposed to work. Even when the devil tells you different. If you don't work, you don't eat. God wants you to get back to work so you can eat.

Not blowing your wad on a glorified death-themed prom night for the deceased.

And if you return to work, you can feed his sheep, let's not forget. If you really loved Jesus, that's what you're gonna do.

God worked for 6 days and then took a day of rest. It's not six days of rest and then a mad rush to get everything accomplished on the last day.

Although a wise man's heart is not in the house of mirth, but the house of mourning, work comes first. We don't mourn those who are merely sleeping. In fact, the disciples are not even supposed to mourn the passing of Jesus.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard Me say, ‘I am going away, and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I."

The disciples should rejoice because Jesus is going to the Father. Imagine if your love your beloved Catholic brother who's excited because he gets to meet the Pope at the Vatican. That's how you should feel about Jesus going to the Father.

If you're freaked out that someone is dead, maybe you were depending on them instead of getting your own work done. Maybe you were emotionally reliant on them instead of the refuge of the word.

Maybe you were in denial about the nature of life and thought it would last forever, avoiding all the uncomfortable reminders of your own mortality.

Or you mourn because you'll miss the people who were so kind to you. If so, press F for the fallen.

But get back to work. We who love you want you to provide for yourself and your family.

If you don't work, you don't eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

So get back to work. Because he who fails to provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

And if you want to be ten times more productive, managing your time for the convenience of your life's purpose instead of dancing to the rhythm of every beep and boop on your phone, and if you still jump to the next distraction every single time the phone rings, then read Dan Kennedy's excellent time management book.

No B.s. Time Management for Entrepreneurs: The Ultimate, No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take No Prisoners, Guide to Time, Productivity, and Sanity

He's very recently been in and out of hospice care, and knowing tough old Dan (who once showed up to a seminar in a wheelchair, against doctor's orders), because he "takes his commitments to you very seriously", he'll be back to work on some kind of schedule if it's at all humanly possible, and the legend that he is, teaching by example, he has even...

One of which says, " I want you all to remain in Good Cheer!!"
Hmm. That sounds familiar somehow. (Be of good cheer. For Jesus has overcome the world.)

He once explained his astonishing level of self-discipline which he learned from his dad's example.

When Dan broke his arm on the farm, his dad told him to wait until the end of the work day to be taken to the hospital because by the time they got there, he was just going to wait several hours regardless.

"And he was right", Dan said.

If that doesn't give you a clue about the value of the old school work ethic, even among unbelievers, I don't know what will.

In the old days, if you broke an arm, you got up and got back to work. If your kid broke his arm, you got back to work. In the military, if you got shot at, you got up and got back to work.

So whether you're traditional old-school farm boy, a libertarian, an atheist traditionalist, or a disciple of our Lord and savior, don't be a crybaby little pansy special snowflake.

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I know you care about all your cats and gerbils and goldfish and grandmas, but there's no need to go around weeping and moping for 30 days every time someone like Moses or Aaron drops dead. It's gonna happen sometimes.

Be of good cheer. For Jesus has overcome the world.

So when a loved one dies, get off  your lazy, excuse-making ass and do your effing job.

I know we all love Kevin Bacon, but one day, he's going to die. Get over it.


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