KEN ANSELL | Waxahachie Daily Light
I visited someone in the hospital last week. They are dying. I know I have shared with you in the past that death stinks, nothing has changed for me on this topic. I just don’t have a place to file it. I know that you can find Jesus, live for Him and then pass away and go to Heaven and things are great, but that just doesn’t help a lot. If anything, I am comforted by the shortest verse in the Bible. John 11:35 tells us, “Jesus wept.” Jesus is sad by the death of his friend Lazarus. He goes on to raise Lazarus from the dead, but I’m glad Jesus knows how I feel when someone I love dies.
Death always makes me think about life. John Piper tells the story about a couple that retired to Florida and their pastime was collecting seashells. It’s okay to have a hobby. I run, I fly fish, I play tennis, I play golf and I like to hang out in coffee shops with the Blonde. But at the end of my life, if all I have to say is, “Look at my seashell collection,” I will feel like I’ve wasted the life Christ gave me.
What I’m saying is, death makes me think about a lot of silly things we do, especially things that we do at “church” that won’t matter at the end of our life. Maybe they were fun, and maybe they weren’t. I don’t want my hands full of seashells when I stand before Jesus. Last time I checked, the goal of the church was to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).
I’ve been there when they cut a woman down from the rafters of her barn. I have been there when they pulled a man out of his bedroom closet and they actually put them in a bag just like on television. It’s more than sad. What do you say to his mother as she watches them load the body into the van?
Life matters, and how we spend our life matters. Ephesians 5 starting at verse 15 tells us, “So be careful how you live. Live wisely, not like fools. I mean that you should use every opportunity you have for doing good, because these are evil times. So don’t be foolish with your lives, but learn what the Lord wants you to do.” In John 9:4, Jesus says, “We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent Me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over.” What is Jesus saying? He is saying, we only have so much time, and at some point we won’t have any more days to do what we should want to do and what God has told us to do. In other words, Ephesians 5:15-17, “Don’t waste your life collecting seashells (my paraphrase).”
I don’t like to reference a secular song, but Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like You Were Dying” might capture this idea best (I don’t know about skydiving – I’m scared of heights). James 4:14 reminds us our lives are just a “mist” here for a “little time and then (it) vanishes.”
So what matters? Jesus matters, living for Jesus matters, church matters, family matters, friends matter, community matters, accountability matters, mission and purpose matter. Can I encourage you to focus on what matters? He told me to tell you that.