Don’t waste the last hour.
Life is short. Really short. Even if a person lives to see 100 years, he or she will only have flirted with time on this spinning ball of crust and iron.
We don’t believe this as kids. The message is drowned out by the sound of swirling hormones and daydreams of the future. Death is something that happens later. Much later. For now, we focus on graduation, and love and marriage, and a house, and car insurance.
But, as you read this line, you are closer to death than you were when you clicked the link that brought you here. There you sit, exhaling breath that will never return. Skin cells flake from your body and begin to settle into the carpet. Seconds melt from the clock like a Salvador Dali painting.
You get the point.
These are the thoughts that only show up after a funeral. Last night, I attended the “going home” service of an incredible woman. Vicki Leininger—Aunt Vic as I knew her—was awesome. Tender, but tough when it mattered. She could sing your heart out of your chest. And she led me to believe I wasn’t half bad myself.
But that was how she lived, always encouraging, choosing to see the best in people. As I sat in the packed sanctuary, I considered the impact she had on every person in the room.
She didn’t waste her life.
I have to be honest. I was there to honor Aunt Vic, but I spent a great deal of time thinking about myself. I looked around at the crowd, young and old, some with teary eyes, and many with smiles on their faces, and thought about the impact of one life.
I put myself in the casket. I played my life on the screens above, and I sat through my own funeral. Who would be there? What would they say when they passed by my body? What kind of eulogy would my life afford?
Scary thoughts. Have you ever done that?
I don’t need a thousand people lined up in front of my casket, but I’d like to know that my life mattered.
I want to know that I pursued my wife and child (or children) relentlessly, that they were my first priority. I want to have been the kind of friend I always wanted, and I want to have loved people, even the ones I disagreed with. Mostly, I want to know that I lived out the gospel that saved me.
How about you? What will your legacy be? Have you considered the possibility of existence after death? If so, what are you doing about that?
This life is so brief and fragile. We can’t waste it on hollow pursuits. Every moment matters.
Consider these words from one of the most influential theologians in American history. He only lived to be 55.
Resolved, never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life. — Jonathan Edwards
We don’t get to know when that hour starts. So, stop reading and go love somebody.
In loving memory of Vicki Leininger (Aunt Vic)
Photo Credit: snowflakesarewhite (Creative Commons)