Over the last week I have been reminded how short our time here on earth can be. We have no control over when we will depart from this this life. The one thing never promised to us by God, is tomorrow. We have no guarantee that the sun will shine, that we will get out of bed, or that we will even make it through a whole day. We are not in control of how long our days are. God is. “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16).
The one thing we are in control of is the life we lead while we still have breath in our lungs. The questions I keep asking myself are, what are people going to say about me at my funeral? Are they going to talk about my life here on earth and all the things I collected or the places I went? Or, are they going to talk about how I pursued God with every fiber of my being, and loved people just the same?
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:38-39). This is the kind of life I want to leave behind. I have been to some funerals where, sadly, it seemed like no one really cared that the person was absent from their lives. I have been to some funerals where people were impacted by the life of the person. I want to leave a void when I go. I want to touch as many lives as possible in my short existence.
What is your goal? Is it to live the American dream? Is it to achieve fame and popularity? My goal is to live in the kingdom of God while still on earth, every day of the rest of my life. I want to live my faith out loud. I want to be a beacon of hope and a light in this world. I want to draw as many people to my God as possible. I want every interaction to show the love of God. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
I have a friend who wrote a song called Live Loud. He puts on a concert twice a year with this same theme. He always says, “Live a life that speaks volumes.” I agree. Are we living a life that shouts, “I serve a mighty God?” Or are we being silent? Are we living for selfish ambition, a life that lives only for our own happiness, or are we making the most of every interaction? My dad is my example of how to live a life that speaks volumes. This man opens his home to anyone needing a place to stay, no matter how long. He impacts people’s lives. He meets people in their deepest needs and displays his faith through his works. I want to be like that!
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17).
What are you doing with the life you are given? I can guarantee the first question God asks you when you stand before him is, “what did you do with the life I gave you?” In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a parable of three servants given large sums of money. They were told to invest and their master would collect when he returned. The first went and invested and doubled his master’s money. The second did the same. The third man buried his money in the ground. When the master arrived, he commended the first two, but the second was reprimanded.
“But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (Matthew 25:26-30).
When your time is up, when your life is over, when you stand before the master, what will he find? A life that wasted the time given or maybe used for personal gain? Or will he find a life that was invested at every opportunity? Will he find a return on all you invested? I want my life to be one that people talk about for generations to come. Not because I was a good man, a great dad, a loving husband, or a man who worked a job day in and day out. NO! I want to be remembered by people as a man who chased after God with every fiber of his being and loved others the same.
I have another friend who tells people all the time that he left the church and pursued a life of sin for a bit. He refers to it as his hooligan days. But he talks of his friends who received him with open arms when he returned from his prodigal journey. His friends always believed in him, prayed for him, and showed him the love of his savior even when he was off being a hooligan. I want to be that kind of person.
When I stand before God and the books containing my life story are opened, I want to hear story after story of how God got a return on my investments. A life that I touched that touched another life and glory was brought to my Lord throughout my lifetime. “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:12-13).
What will your friends and family say about you when you are gone? More importantly, what will the master say to your face when you arrive? Well done good and faithful servant, or cast this worthless servant into the darkness? I personally am going to strive for the “well done” answer to that question. While there is still breath in our lungs, it is never too late to start pursuing a life pleasing to God. One that chases him with all we have and makes the most out of every interaction with our fellow humans. Let’s live our lives as a pleasing aroma to our God!