March is a month full of madness. We have Pi day, Daylight Savings Time, St. Patrick’s Day, spring breaks, and of course my favorite thing about March—March Madness. I’ve heard it said that the safest bet you can make in the month of March is that people will be distracted. It’s actually reported that American companies will lose $1.9 billion in wages paid to unproductive workers in the month of March. Do I have your attention, or have I already lost you to your bracket?
In spite of all the distractions in March, and might I add any other month, we should never lose sight that our own ‘Ides of March’ moment is coming.
If you’re not familiar with the phrase, tradition has it that a seer warned Caesar that harm would come his way no later than the Ides of March (the middle of March). On his way to the Theater of Pompey, the place of his assassination, Caesar passed the seer and joked, “The Ides of March have come,” to which the seer replied, “Aye, Caesar; but not gone.” In his play, Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare immortalized this event when Caesar was warned by the soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.”
Beware the Ides of March. A foreboding imperative to say the least. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if someone told you the exact day on which you would die? I can’t help but relate this thinking to the upsets in the NCAA tournament this past weekend. Would the losing teams have played differently if they’d known they were going to lose? Would they have beaten themselves mentally even before the game had started?
If someone told you, “Beware of June 23, for that is the day of your demise,” would that make you live a better life today? Or would you walk around in despair knowing the date of your death sentence?
Well, let me give you some bad news followed up with some good news. First, the bad news: Your “Ides of March” is coming. At some point, you and I are going to die. We don’t know the day or hour, but that particular day and hour are coming.
What’s important is that we don’t live our lives foreboding, or distracted. We should live our lives forgiving, forgetting, and forgoing.
Forgive those who have wronged you (Matthew 6:12-15). It takes way too much energy to hold on to the wrongs and injustices against you. Free yourself from the control of that anger, bitterness, and revenge. Whether the offender deserves forgiveness or not, when you forgive, you are releasing what is inside of you that holds you back from freedom and new life.
Forget what lies behind (Philippians 3:13). Let go of the past, so that the past will let go of you. I often tell people that you know the end is near when your memories of the past exceed your dreams for the future. It’s hard to move forward if you’re always looking back. God told the children of Israel, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19).
Forgo (Luke 14:33)—surrender, relinquish, renounce—your way and accept God’s way as the key to living a fulfilled life. Give up in order to grow up. Toddlers keep demanding their way. Mature adults are willing to ‘go without’ in order to ‘go with’ God and His plan for your life.
Yes, the bad news is bad: For each of us, our “Ides of March” is coming. But that makes the good news all the better: in Christ, we are going to live (Romans 5:21). Rejoice that through death comes resurrection (Romans 6:5). Death is a moment in time that gives way to a place that has no time. We must be willing to let go of earth in order to embrace heaven.
If you are “in Christ,” He will lead you through that moment in time when you face your “Ides of March.” The reason we fear no evil (or death) is because God is with us (Psalm 23:4). The One who abides with us will bring us past the Ides of March to the place where there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). And as the old hymn says, “What a day, glorious day that will be.”