by Terry Camsey, Major –
It happened again the other day. God zapped me with a 2’x4’! I was doing some research on the Internet in connection with a funeral service I was to conduct for Phil, our next-door neighbor, who suddenly and unexpectedly passed away a few days before Christmas.
For some reason I started my search by typing in the word “death.” It led me immediately to a site that is in the “business” of predicting your anticipated date of death. I’m not kidding…you type in your date of birth and a few other “bits and pieces” of information including (I believe since I didn’t hang around that site long!) your body mass—which it will automatically calculate for you. Then, “hey presto,” the year appears on screen.
But, even worse…you can also log into a countdown “clock” so that you can monitor your progress towards that transition.
Now, we know that in some ways, it is based on pure humbug, although—no doubt—some well-researched actuarial tables from the insurance industry play a part. But we Christians know that only God knows when he will call us back.
Ignorant of and not too concerned about that date, we press on year-after-year, setting up New Year’s resolutions laying out what we want to accomplish during the next twelve months. Rarely, perhaps, do we pay much attention to what God wants us to accomplish.
I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more concerned I become about sins of omission than about the sins of commission. I am convinced that God created each of us uniquely to do his will. As we pass through life on this alien planet—that is only a temporary stopover on our way back home—we need to be sensitive to the purpose for which he placed each of us here.
We are on a journey, and I believe that God intends and has planned for us to make connection with many specific people as we make our way home. I can hear him asking us when we arrive home, “How was the journey?”… ”Did you enjoy meeting (he’ll name names)?” To be honest, I am a little worried that he’ll name people that I don’t even know, because instead of taking the route he planned for me, I went my own way leaving them un-ministered to.
How easy it is to procrastinate when the Spirit whispers in our ear…to pledge to do it tomorrow. It’s comfortable, because we (in our earthly wisdom) know that tomorrow never comes. What we overlook is that Tomorrow (God’s Tomorrow) will come…and we know not when!
As we age, we become more and more concerned with leaving a legacy to those left behind, before we pass on. For some, that legacy sought lies in money and property left to those who follow. For others it may be the hope that a name on a plaque attached to a building will remind readers of them.
In reality, the only thing that lasts (and multiplies exponentially) is the impact for good we have on others. As we look back over our lives we can each name and number those who have directly impacted us for good. But think…those who impacted us in such a way were themselves impacted similarly by others before them.
Once in a while we experience the serendipity of someone sharing with us how we have impacted them in a special way. It is, surely, just a foretaste of what we will discover in heaven and have the joy of seeing the incredible impact of a God-lived life on others.
So, if you are looking for a meaningful resolution this year, assume that your date of death might be anytime, and resolve to live each moment of each day for others, as a true disciple of Christ.
P.S. I hope the 2’x4’ didn’t hurt too much!