In light of the recent and tragic death of a student at Clemson…I am reminded of the brevity of life. You can be young or old and healthy, go out for a run and not return. Some people have called it the “dash”. For me the dash would be 1962-xxxx.
I am not sure what those last four numbers will read, but we all know it is about the dash in the middle…..that little dash represents the “life we have lived.” That relatively short time we have on earth. I have never seen at a funeral….people’s possessions or trophies buried with them. I guess we have learned from thousands of years of history and archeology….those things don’t go with us when we die. They remain to rust or rot. What we leave behind is the difference we have made in someone’s life. The fingerprint on someone’s heart….that is what lasts when we are gone.
What does scripture tell us is important? Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
In the Back 9 of life, I consider myself extremely blessed to be healthy, but aging, but to still be breathing. I have experienced more death in the past couple of years of loved ones who have done the most important thing….LEAVE THEIR FINGERPRINTS…..on my life. From my mother to a mentor to a dear college friend, all of whom….had a tremendous impact on my life by their actions and decision to invest in me.
All of their deaths….have made me reflect on and think of them often, thanking God for their investment. The loss has also been used by God to make me want to stay busy giving of myself, my time and my energy to invest in others because that is what will live on after I am gone. So many times I get so busy on my own agenda…that I have breezed past opportunities to “invest”.
At 52 and looking back on life experiences…many times the interruptions in life are the REAL OPPORTUNITIES….to invest. It is from my quiet time that I have established early in the morning…being in tune with and plugged into God’s voice in my life where I have reaped the benefits of being able to invest. To recognize when God is saying stop….put your schedule down…that can wait….Go here or Go there…or write this…or visit her or him….or call them…….!
God has perfect timing and I have learned that HIS desire is for all of us to invest in others….our time, our money, our experiences….WE JUST have to TUNE in and TURN, at times, from our agenda to someone else’s. Investing in the lives of others brings JOY…an inexpressible joy.
Happiness is not always a factor because sometimes the investment is “dirty, tiring, and involved”. It can require you to give and “look under a rock” at the dark in someone’s life that maybe isn’t pretty, but by investing….you are giving love, encouragement, and a listening ear. What I have learned by choosing to INVEST….is the return of what God can do in my own heart and yours is better than any return Wall Street can offer–it lasts for Eternity.
I encourage you to INVEST…choose to allow God to guide you to leave your fingerprint of care on someone’s heart every day……if you choose to do this…just think, after one year God has used you to touch 365 people. Wow….just think, if you could “take it with you” when you die, that would be an awfully big grave–that would be a big hole for 365 people. But we know you can’t take it with you. Is it better to leave behind trophies that will rust or fingerprints on the lives of others that will last for eternity?
There is a song Ray Boltz made famous. It’s entitled, “Thank You for Giving to the Lord”. It’s the story of a person who goes to heaven and one by one people come up to them to say thank you for the investment that person made in their life. I’m sure you can find the song on the internet if you’ve never heard it–get a tissue first. Let me close with the words to the chorus:
“Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave.”