One part of being a pastor is visiting the sick.
Visiting people in the CCU sobers me every time. I am reminded of the frailty and brevity of life in general and of my own life in particular. I often think to myself “this is where it all ends.” Every happy moment, every hallmark of life, every birthday, every vacation, every party, every single day is leading up to this day, the day when life and death meet.
That may sound like a depressing thought, but the ancient sage, Solomon, commends such occasional thinking. He writes:
“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2)
Of course, Solomon does not require us to live in the house of mourning, constantly wringing our hands with grief and anxiety, but he does consider it wise to go to those hard places from time to time to be reminded of the temporary nature of this life.