Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-22
Have you ever jokingly wished for the life of your pet? Many cats and dogs are catered to. They don’t experience the frustrations of work or the anxieties of life. Excuse the pun, but they seem to “have life by the tail.”
Although the writer of Ecclesiastes doesn’t exalt the life of a pet above yours, he does seem to put both lives on the same plain. “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return” (v. 20). It is true that death is the great leveler of all living beings. Ultimately all are destined for decay.
Be careful, however, in concluding that physical death is the end for both. You see, yours is not a “dog’s life” in a “dog eat dog world.” You are not a product of evolution. You are not simply a highly developed animal. You are different. In contrast to “Fluffy,” God created you in His image (Gen. 1:26, 27). He has placed a sense of eternity in your heart (Eccl. 3:11)…not in “Fido.” Your death does not represent a “light’s out” experience in which you will no longer consciously exist. Your “flesh” is different from “Lassie’s” (1 Cor. 15:35-44) in that it will one day be resurrected to new life if you have a personal relationship with Christ. Your life is different in that you can connect with your Creator both now and in eternity. There is purpose that comes from that that “Garfield” does not experience.
There is an answer to Solomon’s question posed in verse 21 from a purely natural standpoint, “Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward?” Life in Christ brings purpose for the present and confidence about the future. John described it like this in 1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
You can know if your spirit will rise upward at death. Do you know that your spirit will rise upward? That kind of confidence is not a statement of personal pride stemming from your own goodness. No, that kind of confidence is a statement of trust stemming from the grace of God extended on the cross.