A few weeks ago, I was standing at the graveside of my mom, who lost her battle against cancer at the young age of 60. While remembering her God-honouring life and grieving her passing, this resolve began to form in me: “I want my life to count!”
At no other time are we confronted with the brevity – and purpose – of life than in the face of death. Ecclesiastes sums it up this way: “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” (Eccl. 7:2) So if there is wisdom in acknowledging that all of us must face death sooner or later, the logical conclusion would be that it should motivate us to action. Just what action will I take? What is the purpose of my life supposed to be? Is it to make my life as comfortable as possible, to travel the world, amass wealth, and focus on my happiness? Or is it to be philanthropic, spending my life for others to the suffering of my own body? Am I to make great discoveries and inventions to the benefit of mankind?
The answer is, none of these options will fulfill the purpose of our lives. Not unless our focus is bigger than this life, bigger than humanity, and bigger than the universe. So what then is the solution to this dilemma? The answer is surprisingly simple: Jesus! He is the difference between what counts for eternity and what doesn’t. During His time on earth 2 millennia ago, He radically turned the worldviews and beliefs of humanity upside down.
Jesus made it clear that it’s about identity, not about actions.
It’s about who we are, and not about what we do.
Have I fully and whole-heartedly surrendered my life to God and accepted Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf? Have I allowed God to adopt me into His family and embraced the freedom He has purchased for me as His daughter? Then everything about me has changed – my dreams and desires, my motives and passions, my outlook and worldview, even my citizenship and name. In short, I HAVE A NEW IDENTITY! And here is the amazing part: We do not have to feel pressured to come up with great plans on how to make our lives count – God will give them to us. If we choose to listen to Him, He will give us the right perspective, right plans and purpose, and He will be the One accomplishing it all through us. All we are required to do is fix our eyes on Jesus, and out of love for Him, seek to imitate and obey Him faithfully, whatever He tells us to do, and wherever He commands us to go. This may mean wiping noses and changing diapers, or telling people about the hope that is within us. Sometimes, it’s as simple as an encouraging smile, and other times, it’s as glorious as helping someone become a child of God. It’s buying groceries for the young mom whose husband just left her, and caring for the orphaned and needy by taking them into our homes. If God places the need before us, then it will count for eternity, and it will impact and change the lives of those we choose to help.
Over 400 people came to bid their last fare-wells to my mom. People whose lives had been touched in one tangible way or another by her love for Jesus. People who, sometimes for the first time, took Jesus seriously because of her. My mom grew up in poverty, had no formal education past grade 8, and lived the majority of her life in a country that was not her own by birth. And yet, God used her for His glory in innumerable ways. I am resolved to become a woman like that! I want Jesus to shine through everything I do and every word I speak. I want the rest of my life to count for the glory of God! Will you join me?