Bible Society of South Africa

Life or death in my hands? - 6 November 2023

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

A Time for Everything

1Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.

2He sets the time for birth and the time for death,

the time for planting and the time for pulling up,

3the time for killing and the time for healing,

the time for tearing down and the time for building.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-3GNBOpen in Bible reader

This is one of the controversial verses in the Bible. It was misused to justify some of the most atrocious human behaviour in the name of religion – “holy wars” have happened. Religion can be a very dangerous thing! People have been murdered in the name of “honour killings” in some societies. Rockets fly through the air at the moment and some god’s name is called in ecstasy.

There may be a time to kill. There are faithful policemen and -women reading these verses. They have the responsibility to keep guard at night when we are asleep. They may be called to take a life in the line of duty, to protect the innocent. On a personal level, I do believe that there is reason to protect your own life, and those of the people you love, against violent attacks. However, for me as a child of God, life is always a precious gift. It is an extreme event that would justify the killing of another human being – may God protect us from that happening!

Life is such a precious gift, therefore, I believe that we must do everything in our power to save a life. As Christians, our focus should be on the healing side of life. I am called to love my neighbour as Jesus loves them (John 13:34). I am there to bless my fellow man with my love, support and help. There is so much opportunity to save a life, to be part of God’s plan of healing. We need to be sensitive to what is going on around us. In my province of Limpopo, South Africa, there is talk of hunger in 2025 on a large scale. There are lots of people living in dire poverty and many people experience times of desperation, due to a long time of financial troubles. Do we still see the need around us? Can I make a difference, even on a very small scale, in one person’s life?

We can save a life by going the extra mile for our fellow man. If it is physically possible, we can save lives by being blood donors. You may choose to become an organ donor, so that others may live when you pass on. We can enrol in a first aid class to be more effective when someone around us is in physical distress.

To be available in times of need, to be helpful when someone needs healing, asks of us to be willing to sacrifice. Our role model here is our Lord Jesus, he has given his life on the cross to save mankind. He has shown us that true love sacrifices self, even if it costs your life. Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” May the Lord help us to be channels of his healing to the people around us.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the precious gift of life. Please protect me from situations where I may be called to take a life. May it never cross my path! Help me to be a channel of your healing and use me to save a life. Let my life touch others with love, care and action! Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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