I know it may seem a bit odd, but I love going to cemeteries. It is the last memory I have with members of my family. It is where I can still go and visit my grandmother, grandfathers, aunts and uncles. I have gone on a number of occasions just to reflect on who they were and what my relationship with them really did for me. But, other times I like to go to cemeteries just to see the names, the dates, and other items found upon the tombstones. As a child, I made a game of who could find the oldest. As I grew older, my eyes latched on to those who were the youngest. It still breaks my heart to see children buried in. It doesn’t seem “right.” I think about all the things that a child missed out on; scoring his first touchdown, a first kiss, the bliss of marriage, the joys of raising children. I immediately start thinking about lost opportunity. When my childhood friend’s daughter died I thought about those things, all the things that she wouldn’t get to do. Death does that to us. We think about what cannot be done. “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun (Ecc. 9:5-6).”
The problem with this type of thinking is that we forget that the most important item on a gravestone is not the day a person was born or the day he died. It is the hyphen in between. It is the days that we live that matter. For some of us we have but a few days to impact the world around us. For others, they have more than 100 years to change the lives of those that they come in contact with. We only have a limited amount of time to change the lives of others. So I ask you what are you going to do about it?
My childhood’s friend’s daughter lived for less than a year. I personally only got to see her for one afternoon. Dawn and I wanted to bring her parents a meal so that they could focus on more important things (like loving their little baby). She invited us in, she refused to let us leave without meeting her daughter. It, to this day, is an experience that deeply moves me. I got to hold that precious child while we laughed, told stories, and enjoyed being ourselves. In that moment, Rose gave me (and her mother) a chance to be ourselves. She brought so much joy to our lives, even when it was cut short. Rose’s mother and father, wanted Rose to know the joys of loving and being loved. That infectious mindset impacted all of those touched by Rose. I challenge you to do more, to be more.
If you are reading this, you have lived more days than Rose. So, what are you doing about it? What are you doing with your time for your days are numbered. In Ecc. 3:1 Solomon wrote, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” There is a time and place for recreation. That time is NOT all the time. This summer I know that it is easy to get caught up in recreational activities. Fishing is always good in the summer, Baseball is in full swing, days spent at a beach, in the backyard pool, etc can be quite relaxing. But, if we turn recreation into all that we are doing we are stifling our opportunities to make a dramatic impact upon the life of others. We make our “dash” less meaningful.
Since our days are numbered, I want to encourage you to find someone and/or somehow that you can serve. Jesus said, “And whoever desires to be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve (Matt. 20:27-28).” In context Jesus is talking about serving in general, although his personal example was his sacrifice. He just wants us to stop focusing upon our needs, our wants, our wishes and look at what others need. There are plenty of needs that can be met by you. It could be an encouraging phone call or letter. It could be teaching a bible class. It could be spreading the gospel. It could be being the best mom that you can be everyday. But, whatever it is, I encourage you to turn the TV off, stop entertaining yourself and be there for someone else.
Jesus, own brother, explained that pure and undefiled religion required us to serve (James 1:27). (The word translated visit implies an act of service upon arrival). Pure and undefiled religion is getting out there and serving someone less fortunate that ourselves. While this includes widows and orphans, I believe the list goes beyond this. Some are less fortunate because their parents aren’t stepping up to the plate. What is the better use of our time, complaining about the welfare system and how it enables laziness or helping the child who is going hungry at no fault of his own? Our days are numbered, one day our dash wlll be done, I challenge you to do something worthwhile with yours. -WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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Your Days Are Numbered
Volume 8 Issue 23