This week I had the privilege of attending a memorial service for the clergy and spouses of clergy in our conference who have died in the past year. As each person’s name was read and a candle was lit, those in the conference hall who were impacted by that person’s life would stand.
Each year I get to witness this powerful event and each time I leave with the same words ringing in my ears and heart:
Don’t waste your life.
I remember how a few years ago I wasted countless hours staring at images on a computer screen, or, if I wasn’t in a place where I could act out on my sin of choice I was wasting countless hours thinking about it. But for the grace of God I would still be wasting so much time and energy indulging in activities which blessed no one and hurt everyone.
Few, if any, would stand at my memorial service if that cycle of insanity had never been interrupted.
In Paul’s second letter to his protege, Timothy, he writes the following words:
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and suffering… (2 Tim. 3:10-11).
This passage, like the memorial service, reminds me of 2 things. First, we all have an aim in life. We are all aiming towards something, so make it a good something. And second, there are people watching and following that aim. In the margin of my Bible next to this text I have written the initials of each of my children, reminding me that they are following my lead, along with a prayer to God to help me lead well.
Try this: If you have children, ask them what your aim in life is. They are disarmingly honest. My goal is that each of my children would believe my aim is Jesus, and they would follow me in that pursuit.
When caught up in the selfish pursuits of addiction it is impossible to lead well. Don’t waste your life! Live in such a way that when your name is called out and a candle is lit, the whole world will wish to rise up and give praise and thanks to God for a life well lived and an eternity well deserved.