Only One Life Will Soon Be Passed

It is a beautiful fall day in Kidron, Ohio, as I write this editorial. My wife and I traveled to Becky’s home to assist her brother with caregiving for our sister-in-law who will shortly be ushered to the very presence of God. None of us wish for an early departure from this life; she is far too young. We care for and treasure the relationships with family and friends. But here is where we find ourselves, praying with her and for her the grace of Jesus to carry her through to the end. Yesterday the 95-year-old mother of another sister-in-law passed away. While 95 is a rich full life, it still is not a good time to say goodbye to the one who gave her children life.

As I thought about these happenings, my mind went back to a plaque my mom used in our parlor decor. Actually it was a pair of plaques, both of which have profoundly impacted my life over the years. They impacted my life to the point that when it came time to “pack my bags” for college, that I took them with me for my college dorm room. The plaques: “Only one life will soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.” “For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” The second one is the Apostle Paul’s life purpose in Phil. 1:21.

Life is a gift given by God at birth and at our deaths we need to give it back, What do we do with the “blank page” before us? We know the early life experiences go a long way in forming the basic personality and value system we possess through out life. We form early friendships some of which last a lifetime. We have experiences which help shape the substance of life. We learn a lot in those early years that set the direction for the future.

Reminds me of Robert Fulghum’s poem:

“All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.
These are the things I learned:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life –
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

“Be Aware of Wonder”— that reminds me of the eternal truth of a great song I remember hearing Bev Shea sing—“The Wonder of It All.”

There’s the wonder of sunset at evening,
The wonder as sunrise I see;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that God loves me.

O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.
O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.

There’s the wonder of springtime and harvest,
The sky, the stars, the sun;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is a wonder that has only begun.

Life is so short and there is much to learn before we come to life’s close. It is true, “Only what’s done for Christ will last.” So where ever you find yourself as you read this, please know, most of all, the “marvelous grace of a loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt. Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, there by the blood of the Lord was spilt. Marvelous grace, infinite grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Marvelous grace, infinite grace, grace that is greater than all our sin.”

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