Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2, 4, 6-8 (NIV)
In his book “Don’t Waste Your Life”, John Piper re-tells a story first published in the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.”
Piper wondered at first if it was a joke—a spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. It was reality—and tragically, Piper shared that their dream was that you:
“Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells.”
Think about that, as they look up into His face, with hands outstretched toward Christ, and say: “Look, Lord. See my pretty shells.”
That would be a tragedy.
They had their whole life before them and yet they were done with living—when they could have done so much more. So much more, to leave a legacy. To have made an impact. To be all they were created to be, until their last breath.
But what about us? At any age, we don’t do that—do we? Of course not. But throughout our lives, don’t we collect pretty shells, too? We just call them—trophies, or resumes, championships, fancy titles, power, business successes, houses, money and stuff. All okay, unless we are gathering those “pretty shells” to the exclusion of having an impact in the world, of using them to make a difference in the lives of others.
So what will you and I say on that day, with our hands outstretched before Him? How will we look back on each day? Did we just gather more and more shells, or did we take advantage of the opportunities before us to live every day of the life we were given to the fullest?
Did we waste some moments in some of those days, or are others’ lives better because we lived? Do we realize all along that there is still so much more to do in the time we have left, however long that is?
How do we approach each day?
We are sacred creations of God with incredible potential, dynamic purposes, unique passions and platforms of influence for good.
We are intentionally created by God for this specific time in history to leave a lasting legacy of eternal impact that positively changes the lives around us and ultimately lifts Christ and glorifies His Father. Whether we do that, or not—well, that’s up to us.
It’s a critical question to ask of ourselves every day—younger or older, whether just starting out, nearing the finish line, or somewhere in between.
Could I have done more? Could I have done things differently?
Did God desire more from me than I gave? Are we living a life less than God created us to live? It’s a question we all must face today and every day—because if we don’t, we will never become all whom God created us to be.
So, no matter where we are, or what we have done up until now, and seeing perhaps that we could we have done more—let’s draw a line between what we could have done before, and what we can do for the rest of our lives.
We are called by God to follow Him and to live lives of meaning, of fullness, of sacrifice and impact, every day and to the end of our days.
Not to a life of ease, and gathering pretty shells—in the face of those around us in need and who need a glimpse of Christ in their lives—perhaps through you and me.
What will you and I hold in our hands before Jesus on the day that we stand before Him to show Him all we have done—some pretty shells?
Or will we hold up to him—the names and faces of the lives that are better because we lived—changed and saved lives?
What will it be? Wasted moments, or lives of impact.
In the time we have left. The answer seems clear, doesn’t it?
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2016. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.