Good morning again from Managua, Nicaragua!
There are events in our lives that create opportunities to stop and think. Death is certainly one of those events. About a week and a half ago, my Uncle, Steve Smith, passed away after battling an aggressive form of cancer. Steve will be missed greatly by our entire family and we will all treasure the memories we have of him. I will be traveling back to the States in a few days to be with my family as we celebrate the life and Steve and grieve his passing. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of my family, especially his daughters, Madeline and Abbey.
As I stopped and thought about the passing of my uncle, one of the many things that came to mind was the brevity of life. In fact, the words of James, the brother of Jesus came to mind when he said, “Now listen you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:13-14, NIV 1984) The reality is, we are only here on this earth for a short time and truly have no idea how long the “mist” that is our life will last.
In some ways, acknowledging our own mortality can be a little depressing. In other ways, however, it can be quite energizing. How, you ask? Well, even though our life is short, the significance of it does not have to be. If we are honest with ourselves, the majority of us want our lives to mean something. I for one believe this desire is implanted in us by our Creator. In other words, I believe we were created to desire a significant life. In turn, I believe this means we were meant to live significant lives. Understanding this should give us a different perspective on life.
Unfortunately, this often does not happen. Many times, we get caught up in the busyness of life and forget about, or at least suppress, our dreams of making a difference in this world. Due to the very real demands of life, we put these things off until we “have more time”. The problem is we never actually find the time we believed we would one day have. The only time we are guaranteed to have is today. That means today we have to decide if we are going to choose to live significant lives. It also means we have to choose to believe we can actually make a difference.
In choosing to believe this, I believe we also have to choose to invest in something greater than ourselves. The inherent shortness of our lives means that we can only have so much of an impact if we try to make it all about us. As I have heard many people say, our names will only be remembered so long. Instead, if we elect to be a part of something much greater than ourselves, we can play a part in something that could change the course of history. For me, that means being a part of God’s great story. I cannot think of a greater story to be a part of than that of the Creator of the universe. In deciding to be a part of that story, I believe I can be a part of bring life changing hope to the hopeless. While I may never see the end result, I believe this is a hope that can ultimately change the world.
Today I want to challenge you to consider the brevity of your life and the impact you are currently having. I also want to challenge you to believe you can make a real difference if you invest in something greater than yourself. Yes, life is short, but that does not mean it cannot be significant.
– James Belt