Ever since Thanksgiving it seems that most of my time and efforts have been consumed with trying to complete the building of our new barn. Lisa and I are building the barn for our personal use, but we will also use part of it to serve as our new Cattle for Christ office.
During the office and barn building process, we have tried to do a lot of the work ourselves to save money and to help speed up the process. Thankfully a lot of friends have also helped us do what we could not do for ourselves. As the building project dragged out several weeks longer than what I had ever expected or planned and when it seemed like it would never be completed, (especially within my budget or timeframe), I remember praying several times: “Lord please don’t take me home while I am bogged down doing something so insignificant as building a building!
I remember several years ago reading a book written by John Piper entitled: “Don’t Waste Your Life”. This book had a significant impact on my life. I have prayed on several occasions and I still pray on a regular basis that the Lord will help me not to waste my life—that I not to be preoccupied with everyday challenges of life, the things of this world, or even in a ministry where we were not in the center of His will for our lives. Though the new office will help us be more effective and efficient in the work of our ministry, it is not what I am most passionate about and I am anxious to get it behind me so that I can get back to giving my full attention to our main mission of making Christ, His salvation and His love known to all the nations—being involved in the spiritual transformation of the lives of people both here at home and around the world.
During the last two weeks, I have been to two funerals and have missed a few more that I wanted to attend. I have several friends that are currently facing life threatening diseases or injuries. Two weeks ago my brother, my cousin, and I preached the funeral of Uncle Zelda, one of the last two surviving brothers in my daddy’s family. This morning I attended another funeral of a dear friend whose neck I hugged just a few days ago, just two days before she fell and suffered a fatal brain injury. Both of these people were Christians, were ready to meet the Lord, and left legacies that will outlast them. They both touched my life and the lives of so many others in ways that led us into a closer walk with Jesus and showed us more of Him living in and through their lives.
When I was just a boy, I overheard my daddy and all of his brothers standing under a huge Sycamore tree in our yard reminiscing about something in their past. One of them made the statement: “That must have been 20 years ago.” I remember thinking to myself: “how in the world could anybody remember back 20 years?” Well, I turned 54 on March 19th and that memory I have of them talking was over 45 years ago! Life is indeed short isn’t it? Our time on this earth and in this mortal body is indeed short and fleeting. Whatever God has called us to do, we better get busy doing it. Whatever He has put in our hands, we better get busy using it for His purposes. Whatever lives He has put in our path, we had better be investing in ways that have eternal significance.
While I have been thinking about these things, I did some reading in the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, whose authorship is unknown, though most scholars believe to be written by King Solomon who was known not only for his riches, but for His wisdom. To sum up the book, I will use the preface as printed in my Bible:
“Ecclesiastes studies the meaning of life. The ‘Teacher’ looks at wisdom, pleasure, work, power, riches, religion, and other things. All of these have some value and are useful in the proper time and place, but they have lasting value only if God is at the center of man’s life. Reverence and respect for God and a real devotion to serving God are the most important in making life have meaning. Without God, the ‘Teacher’ says, “everything is meaningless.”’
These thoughts just beg the questions that we should all ask ourselves: What will my legacy be? What am I investing my life in that will outlast me? Will it outlast fire, famine, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, financial collapse, fatal disease or injury, or a nuclear world war? What am I investing my life in that will last for eternity? Surely, it must be more than buildings, more than a great herd of cows, more than financial gain, more than material possessions, more than memories of good times enjoying hobbies in this life, more than my social standing in the community, more than just doing ministry for the sake of doing ministry.
Whatever I invest my life in, I want it to make a difference in the lives of people, not just for the short time that they have on this earth, but that will make a difference in where and how they will spend eternity. We are all sinners and are hell bound unless we accept the gift of salvation that only Jesus can give. Thanks be to God for what He has done for us through the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. He lived to show us God the Father. He died in our place taking the punishment for our sin, and He rose from the dead once and for all, defeating death and giving us eternal life. He sent His Holy Spirit to be our comforter, guide and companion.
Don’t waste your life! Invest in what will last for Eternity. What will your legacy be?