“Would you want to know if you are dying?”
That was the question that began the message a week or so ago.
Normally there is rustling; you hear extraneous background noise in the auditorium, but not that Sunday. Not with that question.
What a HAPPY way to start off a message, right?
Yet – it is something we all face.
Recently I heard this question, “There’s a chance I might find out that I really am dying. And if I do find that out, do I really want to know?”
Those words hung in the room . . . no one knew what to say.
I find, in most of those situations, I’m better off NOT trying to find the right words TO say, but rather focus on what NOT to say. Foot in mouth disease is one I sometimes experience. This needed to be a time I did NOT make that mistake!
After a few moments of silence I replied, “I don’t really have an answer to the exact question. However, if you did know you were dying, what would it change?”
His/her answers were beautiful.
Beautiful not because of WHAT they were but because they were things he/she was already doing!
The possibility of the imminence of death just made those choices seem tremendously more important.
A wise mentor in my life once taught me, “Make a memory.”
“It will not be about the things you buy your kids. It will not be the amazing gifts under the tree. Whatever you do and whenever you can do it, make a memory.”
A few weeks ago our son was home for Spring Break. We were doing some intensive cleaning (and purging of JUNK/STUFF!) and had a chance to chat about our memories. It was interesting. The things our kids remember are not the things we hold on to. Vice versa is also true.
However, there were some memories all four of us had in common. It was in those moments of recounting our life experiences together that we found the greatest joy.
That’s one of the beautiful things about Scripture, if we take some time to get past the debates over literal or metaphorical.
We can read the accounts of times when folks who were walking alongside Christ were moved by his words. Ultimately – they made memories. Their memories have power for us – me and you.
As Jesus was teaching, preaching, healing, listening, hoping, leading, prodding, and encouraging . . . he was preparing them for their own steps along the way.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide/remain in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing . . . . I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”
Those words were uttered already having an answer to the question, “Do you want to know if you are dying.”
But instead of worrying about himself, he used every opportunity to prepare those around him for what was to come. He wanted and needed them to “GET IT!”
Abide in me . . . remain IN LOVE and then ACT from WITHIN that love. Then – life -will be shaped by that love. It will be intertwined with the presence of God
Apparently that conversation between Christ and the disciples must have made an impression. It made a memory.
This memory, along with countless others of the life of Christ, remind us that the worst things are never the last things.
It’s cliché – I know.
Live like we are dying.
But we are.
Like it – or not.
Life here is finite for each of us.
Some of us will have a heads up of when that might be.
Some of us won’t.
Yet – in each of these situations, we have opportunities to make memories.
Not just go through life like zombies . . . waiting on some kind of “aha!” thing!
If, for some reason, those that we love the most are no longer here in the physical presence, and we don’t have that “shot” at making memories any longer . . . hopefully there are some we can hold to. And we can also know – because the True Vine, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the NEW LIFE . . . the Resurrection, proves that the worst things are never the last things. Memories won’t always be what we have . . . because life is infinite and eternal. All we have to is abide.
And maybe if we remember that there is no guarantee of tomorrow we will embrace each moment, each day, each opportunity to live like we are dying! Living in peace, hope, and joy! And this will happen as we make memories!