Well, it's hard to believe but, December is just about half over already. Where has the year gone? I'm pretty sure that good old Job must have been "up in years" when he wrote "my days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle..." (Job 7:6) because the older I get the faster that weaver seems to work. Time just seems to fly by, doesn't it? Of the things we possess, time has got to be the most precious commodity of all. I'd like to present a little lesson today based on "time" and relate it's usage to what should matter to us.
I once heard a minister speaking at the funeral service of a departed loved one and he quoted a poem that many of you may be familiar with entitled, "The Dash." It referred to the little "dash" found between the beginning and ending years of a person's life. As in the inscriptions we see on tombstones: 1930-2000 for example. It's that "dash" that we're talking about when we speak of our "time."
You see, time only applies to this life. Everything that we do is regulated by time. Our little finite minds can't even fathom something that is "timeless." Something that is eternal. We just can't relate to something without limits, can we? Everything in our world has limits. Like wise old Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes the 3rd chapter "To everything there is a season" with the understanding that "season" equals a "time" or a "limit."
When I think about the relationship of "time" versus "timelessness" I'm reminded of an old cowboy movie I once watched and the "old cowboy" in it made a statement that has stuck with me ever since. He was referring to a man's life on earth when he said, "We travel between the eternities." I thought at the time I heard it, 'what a powerful thing to say about our time here on this earth,' and I still think so today.
You know, we don't know just how long of a time that little "dash" between our beginning and ending years represents, but we do know that our lives are not measured solely by how long we occupy space here. The Psalmist David made an interesting request of the Lord in Psa. 39:4 when he asked to know the "...measure of my days..." As I just mentioned, I don't believe that our "days" are measured by how many of them we have, but rather how we used them.
In saying that, I'm going to cite to you an essay that I feel speaks directly to how we use our "days." How we should "measure" them. How we "travel through the 'dash' of our lives" before we pass on to the next eternity. I used this little essay once before a few years ago, but I think it so meaningful to our thoughts today that I'd like you to consider it again. It was written by a man named Michael Josephson. This is his essay:
WHAT WILL MATTER
READY OR NOT, SOMEDAY IT ALL WILL COME TO AN END.
THERE WILL BE NO MORE SUNRISES, NO MINUTES, HOURS OR DAYS.
ALL THE THINGS YOU COLLECTED, WHETHER TREASURED
OR FORGOTTEN, WILL PASS TO SOMEONE ELSE.
YOUR WEALTH, FAME AND TEMPORAL POWER WILL SHRIVEL TO IRRELEVANCE.
IT WILL NOT MATTER WHAT YOU OWNED OR WHAT YOUR WERE OWED.
YOUR GRUDGES, RESENTMENTS, FRUSTRATIONS AND JEALOUSIES
WILL FINALLY DISAPPEAR.
THE WINS AND LOSSES THAT ONCE SEEMED SO IMPORTANT WILL FADE AWAY.
IT WON'T MATTER WHERE YOU CAME FROM, OR ON WHAT
SIDE OF THE TRACKS YOU LIVED, AT THE END.
IT WON'T MATTER WHETHER YOU WERE BEAUTIFUL OR BRILLIANT.
EVEN YOUR GENDER AND SKIN COLOR WILL BE IRRELEVANT.
SO WHAT DOES MATTER?
HOW WILL THE VALUE OF YOUR DAYS BE MEASURED?
WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT WHAT YOU BOUGHT, BUT WHAT YOU BUILT.
NOT WHAT YOU GOT, BUT WHAT YOU GAVE.
WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT YOUR SUCCESS, BUT YOUR SIGNIFICANCE.
WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT WHAT YOU LEARNED, BUT WHAT YOU TAUGHT.
WHAT WILL MATTER IS EVERY ACT OF INTEGRITY, COMPASSION, COURAGE OR SACRIFICE THAT ENRICHED, EMPOWERED OR ENCOURAGED OTHERS TO EMULATE YOUR EXAMPLE.
WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT YOUR COMPETENCE, BUT YOUR CHARACTER.
WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU KNEW, BUT
HOW MANY WILL FEEL A LASTING LOSS WHEN YOU'RE GONE.
WHAT WILL MATTER IS NOT YOUR MEMORIES, BUT THE MEMORIES
THAT LIVE IN THOSE WHO LOVED YOU.
WHAT WILL MATTER IS HOW LONG YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED,
BY WHOM AND FOR WHAT.
LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS DOESN'T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT
IT'S NOT A MATTER OF CIRCUMSTANCE BUT OF CHOICE.
CHOOSE TO LIVE A LIFE THAT MATTERS.
Allow me to just add a couple of passages of scripture to the essay as we close out the lesson for today.
"He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good and whoso trusteth
in the Lord, happy is he." Prov. 16:20
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep
his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Eccl. 12:13
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