Picture in your minds a six-year-old boy; curious, slightly mischievous, and easily impressed by the strength and talents of grownups. So, when a maintenance man comes to fix his family’s furnace the six-year-old is standing right outside the furnace closet, watching and admiring.
While he is watching and admiring he notices something he has never noticed before: a small hole in the side panel of the furnace that the repairman is using to gain access to the furnaces inner workings. An idea sneaks into this little boy’s head. This is his chance to do adult work!
So, when the repairman finishes the job, switches BACK ON the breaker which powers the furnace, and drives away, the six-year-old boy finds a screwdriver, shuts himself in the dark closet, and prepares to plunge the screwdriver into the hole – where 240 volts of electricity await him.
Now, for those of you who are getting worried about the well-being of this sweet, darling little boy — don’t worry. I can assure with special authority that he doesn’t die. You see, this sweet, darling little boy was me.
So there I was in the dark, darkness of the closet, and I plunge my screwdriver into the dark, darkness of the hole. And suddenly there was brilliant light! There was a flash, and a poof, and a PSzzzzzzzz, and the smell of burnt plastic filled the air.
In a complete daze I stumbled out into the living area of house where my entire family, who had heard the sound and observed the lights flicker, were all frozen in mid-motion. My face was black, my eyes were bursting out of my head, and my hair was going poof. But I was alive! And I was alive because my screwdriver was dead. My little screwdriver was bent, blackened, and the peculiar smell of melting plastic came from the plastic handle — which had melted over my hand.
Now, this was just one of many near death experiences for me as a child. I recently discovered that the odds of dying from accidental electrocution are 1 in 9,968. I’m not sure whether I raised or lowered my odds with that incident.
Odds of Dying, Any Cause: 1 in 1 (100%)
I once came across a handy chart that presents the odds of dying from a number of various causes. Some of it was surprising. For instance, a person is more likely to die from a bee sting than from a flood, earthquake, or lighting. The least likely cause of death listed was “fireworks discharge” at 1 in 340,733 — though I have some friends who seem to want to make death by fireworks a more common occurrence.
At the top of the chart was this category — Odds of Dying, Any Cause: 1 in 1 (100%). The article accompanying the chart begins, “You are going to die. It’s going to happen. But how you die is the great mystery of your life.”
In one sense we think too little about death and too much of death. Too little in that we hardly live as if life is but a fleeting breath — and too much in that we spend our lives running away from the finish line. The world says, “Don’t think about death, but be afraid of death.” God says, “Think about death, but don’t be afraid of death.”
The title of this new series is, “Not Too Young To Die” — based on a message I delivered at a missions conference last month. I share it with you, not as an expert on the topic of death, but simply as one who is not too young to die.
Some questions for discussion:
- Have you had any near death experiences? Tell us about them.
- When was the last time you really thought about death?
- Would you describe yourself as afraid of death? Be honest.
- Death is generally considered a morbid subject. As Christians, should we think about death? If so, how should we think about death? If not, why shouldn’t we think about death?