Vale Shane Warne. The passing of Australia’s most iconic cricketer is a reminder for all Australians that death and eternity are sober and glorious realities that all of us will eventually face.
It’s something that makes us deeply uncomfortable. If death were just an idea, it wouldn’t plague our souls. It’s the fact we must face death which most troubles our hearts.
If we’re honest, the reality of our death is probably the reason we Australians pack our lives with as much leisure, luxury and relaxation as possible. We are scared to death of the day we must face our greatest fear: death itself.
C.S. Lewis put it like this:
It is hard to have patience with people who say, “Death doesn’t matter.’ There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter.
He was right — death does matter.
What Warne’s death says about eternity
At the end of the day, if we are all going to die, what’s better to do than make the most of life? Why not indulge the senses while we can, if this life is all we’ve got?
The Apostle Paul recognised the logic of this lifestyle. He wrote, “If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32).
In other words, if there is no eternity, we may as well make the most of this short time by living recklessly for our own pleasure. Long before Nietzsche, Paul recognised that nihilism and hedonism go hand in hand.
Still, death rears its dreadful head more at certain times more than others.
Friday the 4th of March was one of these times. To the shock of our nation, Shane Warne was declared dead in his villa on the Thai island of Koh Samui.
A true-blue Aussie, Warne was not only a star of our national sport but was the embodiment of Australian culture. He worked hard and played hard, and death snatched him when he, and we, least expected it. The last CCTV footage revealed four Thai masseuses walking to Warne’s room.
Indeed, death came to Warne like a thief in the night.
What Happens after death?
A greater tragedy than Warne’s death, however, is our nation’s ignorance of what happens after death. Endless news reports reflect upon Warne’s greatest moments and his contributions to Australian folk-lore. Yet Australians seem to be ignoring the elephant in the room: where is Shane Warne now?
We are forced to face the reality of death in a palpable way when it takes away a loved one or someone we admire. The death of Warne brings us Aussies face-to-face with the reality of our own mortality.
Our highly advanced and scientific age has great confidence in its many achievements, yet victory over death is not one of those.
Death snatches away everything we have. It strips us of all our human achievements which we hide behind as a reason for why our lives are worth living.
We distract ourselves from death by inebriating ourselves with hobbies, holidays, and home renovations. Rather than confronting our mortality, we delay addressing it, and we live for ourselves until that final day comes.
And when it does come, we assure ourselves that all roads lead to Rome, and that we will never be held accountable for the way we have lived our lives. Actually, not all roads lead to Rome, and not all religions lead to a right relationship with God.
There is hope: His name is Jesus!
If the words of the Bible are true, death leaves us naked and bare before our Creator, to whom we must give an account of all that we have thought, said and done (Hebrews 4:13).
The truth is, we have all lived for ourselves. There is not one person who will stand innocent before the Judgment Throne on that final day (Romans 3:10). We therefore need a Saviour.
There is only one who has conquered the pangs of death by offering Himself as a sacrifice for sinners like you and me. His name is Jesus.
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. (John 11:25-26)
While it is a right for Australia to mourn the death of Warne, it is even more appropriate that we consider our own mortality in the light of his passing.
For if we turn to Jesus today, death will not have the final word, and we can receive the promise of resurrection life in His name.
– James Jeffery