In the past 30 days, 7 people in my world -- some close to me, some who were related to those close to me -- have died.
On Wednesday, I will attend my 3rd funeral in almost as many weeks... this time for a young man, just 22 years old, Jordan Gautreau.
I am just about cried out.
I wasn't super-close with Jordan, but we were in School of Ministry together a few years ago and he was a guy I really respected and admired. He used to tease me and call me "Mrs. Summer" to which I would threaten to punch him.
I nearly fell out of my chair when I realized he was born the year I graduated high school. He was an intelligent, thoughtful, and kind young man who had a servant's heart, and like the others who have passed in recent weeks, his death came as a total shock.
I can't help but feel there is a message in all of this. Without resorting to cliches or vapid prosaicism, I have to acknowledge that there are no guarantees in this world. We are not promised one day more or less than has been allotted for us and to know that number is humanly impossible. We have to live each day never knowing if we will see tomorrow. Only God sees the bigger picture.
We can think we have it all together, our life a neat and tidy box, perfectly aligned with best laid plans and the objectives we have set for ourselves, but at the end of our allotted time, will it even matter? I'm not opposed to dreams or ambitions, but in the big scheme of things, how will whatever we are doing affect the world around us?
The real question is, Are we living for ourselves or for something bigger than ourselves?
Will our legacy merely affect our grandchildren or thousands of souls we may never even chance to meet?
When we die, will people remember who we were or what we did?
Will those memories be buried with us or will they live on in the rippled effects of our life's work?
Three men from my church have died in the past month.
Each of them has left an enduring legacy... sacrificial lives submitted to God's greater purpose. I want to know -- when my time is up -- that I have done the same.
There's certainly no harm in living a productive, successful life, utilizing the talents you are given. But if your ambitions are all for self, what does it really matter? If your sole purpose on this planet is to seek "happiness" and "fulfillment," they will always elude you. REAL happiness and fulfillment are found only when you are living for something greater than yourself.
Dave Ohlerking, John DeLage, and Jordan Gautreau.
These three men lived lives worth remembering and as examples for us all.
When I was a kid, I thought giving my life over to God meant I would have to be a missionary in some remote corner of the world. Far longer than I care to admit, I was afraid to offer my life -- all my plans and dreams -- to God to use. I'm so glad I finally know better. Now I pray that God will use my life until the very last breath I take.
Fear of the unknown should never keep us from seeking God's greater purpose for our lives. As Brother Dave Ohlerking always said, "There's no safer place to be than in the will of God."
I believe that.
And I want my life to reflect that belief.
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” -- C. S. Lewis