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Thursday, August 7, 2008

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What's it All About?

Several years ago now, I did a funeral for a little girl who had only graced this planet for a couple of short months.  And yet, even in that short of a time, she had definitely impacted the lives of her parents and the others around her.  Years before, as a young youth pastor, I was part of a funeral for a teenager who left this life long before we thought he should have.  He had touched our lives and those of the other kids in our group and we struggled to make sense of it and go on.  On another occasion, I performed the funeral of someone who was the same age as me and was raising a young family and yet had died of a brain tumor.  Why was his life only that long?  We don't know.  In that instance, however, there was joy on top of the sadness because only six weeks earlier, I had the priviledge of leading him to salvation in Jesus!  We are somehow forced to ask when these things happen, what's life all about?

I came across a poem some years ago that asks that very question and gives a very wonderful answer.  It is called "The Dash" and was written by Linda Ellis.  The poem talks about a man standing to speak at the funeral of a friend and mentioning the persons date of birth and also the date of their death.  "But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.  For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth and now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth."  He went on to say that "what matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash." (See the whole poem)

If I look at my own life, I was born and I will die.  I have been priviledged to be a part of many things.  How many of them count for eternity?  I trust that my "dash" go on for a good many years yet.  Jesus Christ came "that we might have life and that we might have it to the full" (John 10:10).  Have I filled my dash with that which counts?

We all only have one dash, and we don't know whether it will be shorter or longer.  What will we do with it?  When that final date is filled in, what will people say about my dash and yours?  Paul says, "Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity" (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Now this verse is often used in teaching on evangelism and sharing our faith and it has a legitimate place there.  But why not let it refer to everything that makes up our lives.  Make the most of every opportunity you have to enjoy God's creation.  Make the most of every opportunity to spend time with your wife and with your children.  Be as present as you possibly can when you are with your friends.  Worship God with your whole spirit, mind and body.  Pour yourself into your quiet time and your alone time as much as your pour yourself into your work.  "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

What's it all about?  We only have one life to live.  So, live it.  To the full and to the max.  Live the life that Jesus died to give us.  We have already passed from death to life.  We have eternal life that has already begun.  Let's live like it today!

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