Bob Dylan said, “If you aren’t busy living, you are busy dying.” In our times of pandemic that is a decision that seems a little more present for us to consider.

I’m anxious to “get out and do something.” I know a lot of other folks who feel equally as strong about staying in because they do not want to become infected with the coronavirus. That raises a real threat which could lead to suffering or even death. So, what are we to do?

Even without the fear of the virus, some people adopt a philosophy of escapism. Surely for those who are Christians we have an assurance that there is life beyond this present world. We can happily sing, “This world is not my home. I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” But there is a difference between the hope of heaven and not being willing to engage the world in which we live.

A street preacher had gotten some attention when he asked, “is there anyone here who wants to go to heaven?” Several people raised their hand but one little boy, who listened attentively, did not raise his. The preacher looked at him in particular and asked, “Son, don’t you want to go to heaven?” The little guy said, “Yes sir, but I didn’t raise my hand because I thought you were getting up a crowd today.” Too many of us procrastinate about serious decisions. Maybe that’s what Dylan had in mind when he said, “If you are not busy living, then you are busy dying.” Life after death is very important, but life before death may confront us more in the immediate moment.

You and I can step back and be afraid of life or we can face our fears and engage life fully. The choice really is ours.

We certainly need to make wise health decisions and not act foolishly. But we dare not shrink from appropriate engagement with our world. Long before Dylan, Martin Luther said, “Believe and sin bravely.” We can’t avoid mistakes, offenses or sins, but we need not hide our heads in the sand either.

When the nation of Israel was ready to enter the promised land, Moses made a final challenge when he said, “Choose life that you and your offspring may live.”

Our choices may seem insignificant but in the long haul, they are monumental. Be busy choosing life; let God take care of the rest!

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Dr. James E. Kilgore retired as President of the International Family Foundation and lives in Canton. His most recent book, LIVING WITHOUT LIMITS, was published in late 2019 and is available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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