This has been a very tough morning. I woke up rather early to the news that a friend of ours was tragically killed in a swimming accident. She and her husband were snorkeling off the coast of Guam and got caught in a rip tide that pulled her out to sea. Not long after, Heidi learned that a high school friend was diagnosed with melanoma that has already spread to his bones. Once again, Heidi and I were reminded of the frailty and brevity of life. Honestly, there is no guarantee of our next breath much less our next year or even our next day. Like a vapor, life and be here today and gone tomorrow (see Psalm 39:4-5).
After Heidi left for the morning, I began to reflect upon my own life. I am not guaranteed 80 years, not even 55 years. So as I considered the brevity of life, I refocused my thoughts on 4 important truths:
- I must follow my Savior faithfully.
I don’t understand what is happening. In my finite mind, I can neither comprehend or reconcile what happened to my friend. I understand the fallenness of our world and the simple fact that bad things happen in this world, but I still hurt and simply don’t understand. Therefore, I will follow my Savior and trust Him implicitly.
- I will love my family well.
I’m pretty average in almost every aspect of life. I’ll never be famous, I’ll never be asked to preach in front of a large audience, I’ll never lead a mega church and will never write a best seller. I think to date I have 126 followers on Twitter. I am anything but famous. By all accounts, I’ve lived an average life. But there is one thing, I guess two things, I’ve done well. I’m a good husband and father. If my last day is fast approaching, Heidi and my kids will know I loved them intentionally and loved them well. I was far from a perfect husband and father, but they know I loved them to the end. As I reflect on my life, I realize my legacy will be left, not in the pages of a book or even behind a pulpit. My greatest legacy I leave will be the lives of my three children, their spouses, and their children. By that standard, I’ve done just fine in this life and have lived a very meaningful and full life.
- I will lead by church courageously.
I am reminded again, life to too short to be always focused on petty and minimal things. I’ve been in the ministry for 20 years now and still marvel at how much time is spent on non-kingdom issues in the church. It amazes me how much a pastor must deal with burning fires that honestly have no eternal value. With whatever time God gives me on this earth, I must continually lead our church to focus on the main thing – the advancement of the Kingdom of God for the glory of God and the good of others. I love Psalm 78:72 “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands, he led them.” Help my Father, to shepherd my people well.
- I must seek the lost passionately.
Life is both fleeting and fragile. Time is running out. If our Lord tarries, we will die and stand in judgment before God. The more I’m in ministry the more I think nothing matters as much as the eternal destiny of people’s souls. People are going to die and they are going to die suddenly without warning. Therefore, we must constantly be passionately seeking out the lost. Every church must be concerned with the eternal destiny of the people God brings into your path.
If the Lord tarries, I pray God will give me many more years. I know I’m not guaranteed a long life. Therefore, I must make every moment count. Someday I long to hear my Savior say, “Well done.” It’s amazing how life often works. It was a tough morning. The bad news kept coming and I was looking for a way to just go home, watch t.v. and relax until a meeting later tonight. However, God sent me good news. My dad’s cancer is shrinking. In the midst of the haze of grief, God intervened with a ray of sunlight. Isn’t that just like God? I’ll miss my friend. She had more joy for the Lord than many people I know. Very few people had more of a desire to be used by God to advance His kingdom than my friend. She left this world much too soon. With Easter Sunday fresh in the rearview mirror, I am reminded she is more alive today than I am. Melissa, you will be missed. You lived your life well to the glory of God. Scott, Heidi and I are fervently praying for you and your family. Press into Jesus.
Finally, until He comes or until you meet Him, make every moment count. Live your life well. Make every day count for God’s glory. Time is running out. You may not have long. Are you ready to meet Jesus?