All of us make appointments we would rather not keep—whether with the dentist or the doctor for example. But whether we want to keep it or not, there is one inescapable appointment we will keep.
W. Somerset Maugham refers to that appointment in his brilliant short story, only one paragraph long, entitled, “Appointment in Samarra”.
There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions, and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, “Master, just now when I was in the market-place I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.”
The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the market-place and he saw Death standing in the crowd and he came to Death and said, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”
“That was not a threatening gesture,” Death said. “It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
The Bible says, “people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). This solemn reality caused the ancient prophet Amos to issue the imperative to his audience: “Prepare to meet your God!” (Amos 4:12) Amos’ words imply: (1) they were not prepared, (2) preparation is imperative, and (3) it is not too late to prepare to meet an infinitely holy God. Only those with a genuine faith in Jesus Christ are prepared to meet God. How about you?
Lanny Tanton is the Pastor at The Bible Church of the Lakes in Horseshoe Bay, Texas – just outside of Marble Falls. Pastor Tanton welcomes you to our website and hopes that you’ll enjoy reading these insightful blog posts. Please contact us if you have further questions!!