Growing up in a Southern Baptist church in Georgia I was accustomed to hearing songs about heaven in the worship services. We use to sing songs like “When We All Get to Heaven,” and “In the Sweet By and By.” I would venture to say that today we do not sing songs like these very often – songs focused on our eternal home.
I was reminded of that when I came across a song written by Bob Kauflin called “It Is Not Death to Die.” Kauflin based this song on an older hymn text of the same title written in the nineteenth century. Why don’t we sing songs in worship like these today? Songs that give us an eternal perspective and remind us that “this world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.”
Is our lack of eternal perspective related to a culture focused on materialism and pleasure-seeking? Do we really like our earthly home better? It seems that those who speak of heaven and spending eternity with Jesus most often are those who are in the midst of strife whether it be health issues, persecution or poverty.
I know that I need to keep an eternal perspective and not be so focused on the distractions of this world. I am reminded of the I John passage (2:15-17):
Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of the God lives forever.
I appreciate songs like “It is not death to die” which gives an eternal perspective and reminds us of our real home with the Father. I think we need more songs like this to help us stay focused on the goal (Hebrews 12:1-3).
It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road,
And join with saints who dwell on high,
Who’ve found their home with God.
It is not death to close,
The eyes long dimmed by tears,
And wake in joy before the throne,
Delivered from our fears.
Oh, Jesus conquering the grave,
Your precious blood has power to save.
All who trust in You,
Will in Your mercy find,
That is not death to die.
It is not death to fling,
Aside this earthly dust,
And rise with strong and noble wing,
To live among the just.
It is not death to hear,
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years,
To praise You evermore.
Original words by Henri Malan (1787-1864). Translated by George Bethune (1847). Music, chorus and alternate words by Bob Kauflin.
Sample of song: