Back in September of 2011, we had our Cattle for Christ International ‘Moving Em Out for Missions” Sale where we dispersed all of our ‘clean’ Registered Angus Cattle. We are currently attempting to rebuild our herd to include all breeds of purebred and commercial cattle and to run it like a commercial herd (with some exceptions). Though it was indeed a dispersal of an entire category of cattle, it was not a ‘final dispersal’ because we intend to rebuild our herd.
I recently experienced a true Final Dispersal. This dispersal raised a lot of questions about life, the brevity of it, our life’s purposes in this world, and the futility or at least the temporariness of our worldly material possessions.
My mother who is 83 years old has finally reached the age and the physical condition where it is no longer safe for her to live alone or take care of herself. The sitters can no longer meet all of her physical needs. Though this time will come for all of us unless we die before, it is just hard to believe that this time has come for ‘my’ Mama.
I dreaded having to sit down with Mama and explain to her that she could no longer take care of herself and that she needed to leave her beloved apartment and give up her independence to live with one of my sisters. This would also mean that she would have to get rid of most of her possessions and that she would never again live alone or have her own place. I had to make sure that she understood that once she dispersed her possessions and moved out, she would never be able to return and live alone again. This was a difficult decision for her and a difficult process for those of us who love her and have always called her Mama or Nana (depending on the generation). Never again would any of us be going to “Mama’s House”.
It is one thing to disperse one’s belongings after they have died as was the case with my daddy. Though we honored his wishes, we did not have to worry about his feelings. However, it is much different to disperse someone’s possessions when they are still alive because you know that many of those ‘little things’ or possessions hold a lifetime of memories that only Mama could understand or appreciate to the fullest extent—and she is still alive to see them go. Some went to children, some to grandchildren, others sold or given away, but whatever she could not take with her, had to be dispersed—it all had to go.
I mentioned that this experience raised a lot of issues in my heart. First was the brevity of life itself. How in the world could my Mama who raised six children, many of those years all by herself, now be at this point in her life? I remember her being young and healthy and able to do anything she wanted or had to do as a mother and a wife. I remember her being strong and able to somehow deal with all the troubles that came her way, without neglecting her children. But now, she is nearing the end of her life here on earth and is no longer able to take care of herself. How could so much of her life have passed her by? How could so much of my life have passed me by? My children too are all grown up and my grandsons are all growing up too. Time waits for no one.
Secondly, I thought about the purpose of our lives here on this earth. Whatever our specific purposes are, we need to be seriously pursuing them and we need to make sure that our lives glorify the God who loves us, who created us, and who paid the price to save us and give us the opportunity to have eternal life. The same God before whom we will one day stand to give an account for what we did with the time, talents, gifts and possessions that He entrusted to us.
Thirdly, I thought about the brevity or the temporariness of the worldly or material possessions that we spend a lifetime trying to accumulate. I think that if we are honest with ourselves, we will see that we spend far too much of our time and effort making more money, so that we can buy more things, so that we can accumulate more possessions, so we can enjoy life more, and in the end, we will leave it all behind! It may be when we die, or it may be before we die as it was with Mama, but we will indeed leave it all behind and someone else will own it.
I can almost guarantee you that whatever material things you leave behind will not mean as much to whoever gets it as it does to you. They will not know all the memories you have associated with the possession, the loved one who gave it to you, or the occasion on which it was given. They also will not appreciate how hard you worked or what sacrifices you made to get it. Some of what means the most to you will be sold in a yard sale. Some of what meant so little to you will cause division and hard feelings among those you love the most as they fight over whatever you left behind.
Let us not waste the rest of our lives chasing what we cannot keep! Whatever time we have left, let us live it for Christ by loving Him and serving and reaching others for His sake. In the end, nothing else will matter. If He died for us, surely we should live for Him! “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2Cor5:15).
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.