Harsh words from someone like J.C. Ryle. But in context, he is reminding us that even though rulers live luxurious lives, their daughters, sons, wives, and even themselves, must die. We all must die. Our social standing will not be able to prevent death from coming to all of us. Ryle writes:
“It is good for us all to remember this. We are too apt to forget it. We often think and talk as if the possession of riches was the great antidote to sorrow, and as if money could secure us against sickness and death. But it is the very extreme of blindness to think so. We have only to look around us and see a hundred proofs to the contrary. Death comes to halls and palaces, as well as to cottages–to landlords as well as to tenants–to rich as well as to poor. It stands on no ceremony. It tarries no man’s leisure or convenience. It will not be kept out by locks and bars. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27). All are going to one place, the grave.”
We know this to be true. Over the last 2 years, we have been shocked and surprised at some of the people who have died. For me, Glenn Fry of the Eagles caught me off guard. In some weird way, he was a stalwart of our culture, whether for good or ill, that I thought would always be there. But alas, death took him, along with a number of rockers that would shake our belief that fortune and fame would protect them. I know, such silliness to ever think that. It’s a problem we all have.
Others who have shaken the culture over the years: Princess Diana, Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, Robin Williams, David Bowie (the weird culture), and Prince (more weird culture). Each death was enough to remind us, rich or poor, known or unknown, we all must die.