The noted British economist, John Maynard Keynes, is famous for his quote, “In the long run we are all dead.” He wrote this in the context of refuting other economists’ view that governments should not interfere with the economy, as in the long run it will stabilise itself out. While Keynes was not specifically thinking about spiritual things, ironically his comment does have a ring of truth to it.
We are often more concerned about our short-term circumstances than our long-term relationship with God. In Luke 13:1–5, some people asked Jesus about the Galileans who were massacred while sacrificing in the temple. Such tragic circumstances led them to question if these people were especially sinful and this was why God allowed them to die in such a terrible way.
But Jesus’ response clearly rejected this belief that bad things are always happening to bad people and that good people will escape such an end. Jesus even continues to emphasize the seriousness of His rejection by referring to another tragic accident, where a tower in Siloam collapsed and killed those who were inside. He went on to warn His audience that in the long run, they will also perish, unless they repent.
Whenever we are met with bad news, we tend to think that God is punishing us for some sin in our lives. This thinking assumes incorrectly that we can maintain our “goodness” such that God will not visit us with punishment. I recently saw on the news that a lady in Japan has been officially acknowledged to be the oldest person in the world at 116. If the idea that bad things only happen to bad people is true, then this lady must be the godliest person in the world!
However, if we dare to admit it, regardless of how long we live in this world, “in the long run we are all dead.” The fact is that we do not even know when we will die. That is why Jesus was so serious in His warning to repent or perish. While we have the time that God has so graciously given us, we ought to make sure that we are right with Him. And according to the Scriptures, no one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6).
If we think it is unjust that bad things can happen to good people, we must realise that this only happened once in the history of the world. There is only one person who can be called good, and He is Jesus Christ.
Dn. Mervin Lin