Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An Incomplete Life

Part of being a parent with any number of children means one of you must go to the doctor at least once a week. During a recent visit I found myself aimlessly staring at some random television talk show and there was this guy, Daniel Pink, claiming to have found the secret to leading a significant life. Pink based his idea (and the self-help book he was attempting to sell) around the thought that all you had to do to determine if you are living a significant life was to create a sentence that summed up your existence so far. As he put it, all the major participants in history have great sentences. The example he used was that of Abraham Lincoln; “Lincoln secured the Union and freed the Slaves”. Pink then goes on to attempt to help those with weak sentences (thus weak lives) by establishing goals and showing readers how to achieve them.

I decided to test this idea that a life of impact could be wrapped up in one sentence. The one I came up with was “Jesus, the son of God, lived, died, and was resurrected so that we may be given the opportunity to be free from the fires of hell” Paul does an amazing job summing up his own life in one sentence when he says in Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Clearly Paul had his mind set on something more than the finish line. He wasn’t ever going to be satisfied until every single person he came into contact with knew of the power of God. The beggar on the street corner, the Caesar in Rome, if you knew the name of Paul the Apostle you knew his purpose in life. In the end, it’s no question Paul’s life was complete.

Recently I’ve heard talk from someone that is regularly asked to provide the eulogy at many a funeral tell that there’s nothing more depressing than discussing the dearly departed’s life with those closest only to find there’s nothing that needs to be said other than how much he/she will be missed. Have you ever been to a funeral where the message was short and the song list was long? When a life is lived without God, can it ever be considered complete? Take a moment to consider what your sentence will be? I definitely know what I don’t want mine to say, “He was an avid Auburn fan who loved his family”. I want “He served the Lord until his last dying day and where he lead, his family followed.” not “He enjoyed spending time on Facebook, loved his family, and saw every episode of Friends.”

In Mark 16:15 Jesus tells us to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” When your time comes…when my time comes…as that man prepares for our eulogy to be spoken, will it be one of hope filled with the deeds we have done in the name of God or will they talk of a life that was never completed because it never seemed to have a purpose to begin with?