I feel like I should say up front that I’m writing this in a more somber mood than usual. I’m about to get dressed to attend the second funeral this week, I’ll be a pall bearer at this one. I know that no one enjoys funerals, but I literally used to come up with every excuse imaginable not to attend one. Since becoming a Christian, it doesn’t bother me as much as it did. Perhaps, this is because I’m learning (finally) that it’s not all about me. There’s a strange thread of thought that happens every time I go to one now though. Who would come to mine? What would they say about me now that I’m gone? (I guess I haven’t totally learned to take the focus off of me.) I feel like everyone either does this or should do this.
The first funeral I went to this week was Mrs. Kay Whiting. A woman I grew up around that fought a 14 year battle against cancer. She fought everyday not so much for herself, but for every second she could spend with her family. A truly epic battle. The funeral I’m going to today is a man named James McCann. He died this week at the age of 95. He fought for his country, was married for over 70 years, and was one of the most Godly men I knew. Both of these two people left a legacy of Christ-likeness that will live for years to come in each of their families, communities, and churches. Their legacy will continue here on earth while they sit in Heaven with our Father. I’m sure of this!
Is that what someone like me will write about me when my time comes??? What would they write about you?
Paul compares our life here on earth to that of a race. Many times he makes the analogy about how we are running our race of life. So this morning, when you finish reading this, I really want you to sit back and think of where you are in your race.
Are you running a sprint? Does your life seem like an all out gut check that requires every fiber of your being just to get to the end? It’s hard to lead a life like this and truly take the time to build relationships with people, much less with God.
Are you more of hurdle jumper? Does it seem like your only focus is on the next step of your journey, timing being very critical to your race. Each phase of your life leads to the next thing to “jump” only to start another phase that will end the same way.
Maybe your leading a life that compares to an obstacle course. You’re constantly being led in different directions by the world. You’re either climbing over, under, or through something every single day. The focus of this kind of life is definitely not on the race, it takes all you have just to get through all the obstacles. This is the life I led for too many years.
I’d really like to be a marathon runner (not literally). Perhaps the most disciplined of the races. Marathon runners train a lot, both mentally and physically. They keep a steady pace, enjoy the race, and focus their attention on the finish line. I want to raise my family in this kind of pace. Constantly moving forward, trained in the correct way, focusing on the final goal.
The nice thing about life compared to a race is that we can change competitions in life. It’s never too late to start over, refocus, and change events. Choose a life that leaves a legacy. By focusing on Heaven and our Father as the finish line, the training becomes so much easier. We can live a life full of meaningful relationships, get our work done, raise our family, and grow closer to Christ everyday.
I challenge each of you to truly ask yourselves, “What will they say at my funeral?” What kind of race are you running? What is your legacy???? These questions need to be asked and answered today. Don’t put it off to a day that might never come. I pray that when I reach my finish line, I can answer as Paul did…
1) I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, 2) so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.3) You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. 4) They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. 5) But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant. 6) You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. 7) This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. 8) All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.
2 Timothy 4:1-8 (MSG)