Saturday, September 27, 2008

Vapor & Death

Pools will fill beneath people’s feet one day, one day a little old lady will lie in a really expensive box that will be put in the ground, and one day I will have to fly back to Jacksonville. One of my greatest fears is that on the day my Nana dies that amidst all those emotions and all the people in my family I will stand speechless with a heavy heart and numb hands. I am considered the wild one of the family, the one who does dumb things, doesn’t plan well, and makes a lot of mistakes. I used to cry myself to sleep after I visited Jacksonville for the weekend. I’d lay in my apartment in Indianapolis crying because I was considered radical or crazy by my family. I walked away from everything, at least this is what they say, I left a job on a great fire department, a prestigious position in a growing insurance company, a great girlfriend, nice apartment, nice truck, nice clothes, blah blah blah. I see none of this as important, but my family used to beat me up about how dumb I was for moving to Indianapolis. It used to really affect me and I used to doubt my decision and feel like I was a failure. I moved to Indianapolis to help start a church, I bought into this big dream of a downtown urban city changing to embrace God and be changed by living the Jesus way of life. So that’s my story, the end. Because of this my family now has this view of me and all these expectations of who I am supposed to be because they think I’m some religious guy and I am sure that when my Nana dies they will expect me to say something moving at the funeral. The fear that fills my chest and makes my hands go numb is that I won’t have anything to say. I don’t think that Nana has come to a faith in Christ and so if she dies without knowing Him then all those tears will be tears because something has been lost instead of someone fulfilling life and being with Jesus.

Funerals are not supposed to be sad though. They should be celebrations of life right? Maybe I am a dork, but that naturally leads me to think about what life is. I am reading this book called Crazy Love right now. IT is a really good book, full of in your face truths that we frankly need to hear and be reminded of. I just read a chapter about the brevity of life and caught myself wondering about life. When I die, it won’t matter what I looked like, how much money I made, how many cars I had, how big of a house I had, how good I am at a sport, or anything really. As I look around at what people attribute as valuable to life I am actually deeply saddened. I went to the Colts/Jags game last week with a good friend of mine (Colts lost by the way!). I was just astounded by the huge poster of Peyton Manning on the outside of the building, the 60 some odd thousand people who filled the stadium, the same number of people who spent between $89 and $300 on a jersey that represents the player they like, and the ridiculous amount of money spent on drinks, food, and tickets just to watch a game. No one will care who won this game in a year, this game does not impact life in any sense at all, but I paid $309 for my Maurice Jones-Drew Jersey, $30 on my hat, $74 on my ticket, and easily dropped $20 on food and drinks, and basically committed a portion of my life to this event. Not to say the event or anything with it is wrong, but it these athletes lives are totally based upon a game that no one will really even care about soon. So that is their life right? I look at my own life and more often than I should get stressed and caught up with it. I expect my next day, I anticipate that I will grow old and have a family and children, I suppose my days will just be back to back. I should wake up each morning amazed that God gave me a day. He doesn’t owe me anything. Why am I here anyways. Do you ever think about that as you look into the mirror I nth morning? You ever ask yourself, “what’s the point of this?” It’s a humbling thought.

We are often shocked by the sudden death of someone we know or a young person. We say things like, “they had such a bright future in front of them,” or, “They were too young to die!” Says who? Who are we to say that they have a future or that they are too young to die. The truth is God is control of it all. The reality is that our lives are but a mist or vapor that vanishes quickly. In view of this we should really wonder what we are to do with this little vapor we have. The point of it all is to live for Christ and to point to Him. So although Peyton Manning may be a great quarterback, or she may be a great dancer, or he may be a great accountant, none of it really matters. What was the point of all that stuff they did? God offers us the freedom to live a life that means something, a life that leaves fingerprints and footprints in the world we will all soon leave (that’s a euphemism for death in case you are wondering). I am reminded tonight that my life is short and I am challenged to live it for all it is worth. When I die I want people to be able to laugh and tell stories about me, I want them to remember how much I loved God and how much I tried to live my life for Him. I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to say something nice at my funeral; I want people to be able to know that I am with Jesus and that my life was pleasing to Him. I love my Nana and I want her funeral to be a celebration of life, but if she doesn’t know Jesus then her life doesn’t truly exist because it is only through Him we have life, what it truly means to live.

May you seek life, may you stare into the mirror and ask yourself, “what is this about, what is my life for?” may you love Jesus and seek to live the life He offers you so that on the day you stop breathing people will not be lost for words, shocked, or have numb hands. I pray that you live life as if it is a vapor, use the little time God gives to us to live for Him. Death can be the end or the beginning, it is up to us. Let not tears be rivers of regret or sorrow, let them flow from joy that you are a child of God on that day!

1 comment:

  1. Good post and thoughts; much like my own concerning following God's will, and interesting time for me to find this post as the scenario of my grandma's death will be unfolding in these next few days.