... that's the title of the second chapter of Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. I read this book last year and it keeps coming back to mind. There were important points that I didn't want to forget, that I wanted to think about more, put into practice more...
My plan is to address a chapter at a time in a blog post, and how it impacted me (and more importantly, what I'm doing about it). Here was the post for Chapter One: Stop Praying (?!?) from last month.
Why is it called "You might not finish this chapter" ? We really shouldn't have any delusions about our future - we are NOT in control of it. We can make plans, but the outcome - we could die tomorrow in a freak accident. Or, before finishing a chapter of a book. Jesus gave a very specific example of this in a parable of a rich man who died without warning in the midst of all his grand plans.
In about fifty years (give or take a couple of decades) no one will remember you. Everyone you know will be dead. Certainly no one will care what job you had, what car you drove, what school you attended, or what clothes you wore.
What are we living our lives for? I had to ask myself that question the past week. I volunteered to help teach at our church's vacation bible school, which included a lot of prep work for a week's worth of lessons for two classes, putting together props and crafts and decorations, thinking of ways to make the lesson engaging and interactive and personal - and meaningful. At the same time, I had a looming deadline at work. I knew the two commitments were going to conflict and add stress. In the midst of this week I was questioning why I had taken on too much.
But at the end of the week (whew), I have no doubts. Everyday my four kids went with me to VBS. We were in some classes and activities together. The older girls helped me paint and hang decorations. We talked about everything going on. My daughter Dreamer wrote her memory verse on our front steps with sidewalk chalk. Because the theme was Creation, we talked about all the cool animals they'd learned about that God made, and how He made them special in so many ways.
|"A thrill ride through God's creation"|
Even more, I saw many other families volunteering together at church, working and playing together for a whole week, teenagers helping with all sorts of things from crafts to skits. Teenagers!! (Gives me hope!) Not to mention the kids who participated who maybe heard the gospel for the first time. (I love that our VBS leaders asked us from the very moment we committed to this plan to pray for the kids. I am glad this post has also reminded me to pray for them, now that it is over. That they would remember, and the seed planted would grow.)
These are things we should live our lives for. Not necessarily "churchy" things but things we do together, with friends and family, volunteering for a bigger effort than our own personal achievement, and doing something where God is the center, the reason for it all.
Sadly, many people die while living selfishly. Their funerals are filled up by individuals who stretch the truth in order to create a semblance of a meaningful life. Nobody would dare say an unkind word at the funeral; there is an unspoken obligation to come up with something nice to say about the person who died.... When we face the holy God, "nice" isn't what we will be concerned with, and it definitely isn't what He will be thinking about. Any compliments you received on earth with gone; all that will be left for you is truth.