A couple of days ago I officiated a funeral for my friend, Bryan. Bryan was 49 years old and died from cancer. I met Bryan eight months ago and he was a shining light. He was full of life and didn’t go to the grave very easily. He went through some really difficult situations and then, to top it all off, his body was in agony the last couple of months of his life. He was a fighter and death took him too early.
Bryan’s funeral wasn’t my first and it won’t be my last. I have realized over the last 10-12 years that death isn’t fair. Death doesn’t have prejudice, it does not care about age, race or gender. It takes what it wants when it wants and that makes me angry.
This morning I have been grieving; grieving over my friends and family who have died and grieving over those that are plagued with sickness. If we aren’t careful, grief can take us to really bad places. Grief has a way about it that seems fitting but at the same time we can get too comfortable in it.
As ugly as death is, it actually gives us a gift. The gift reminds us that we are alive; that we still have time. It reminds us about what truly matters in life and gives a clear perspective if we choose it. Death gives us a sobering feeling that one day we, too, will see the grave. And it subtly asks us the question – what will you do with the time you have left?
I’ve realized the best thing we can do to honor those who have died is to finish our race with vigor. To take life for everything it has to offer. To soak it up; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Life is a precious gift.
I want to use my life to inspire others to live for God and to fully give Him everything they have. Because God, through Jesus, has extended our life beyond time. Time is limited but life doesn’t have to be. The best investment we can make with the little time we have left is to invest in the true life that God gives. We can use every bit of time to honor His will and to bring His kingdom and His presence to others.
My encouragement for you today is this – invest in life. Invest in God, Who is the giver and sustainer of life. Don’t go on autopilot and let your limited time here be squandered. Use it to be present in every season.
I leave you with a poem I heard 12 years ago from a pastor named Kyle Lake, who died shortly after writing it. The poem is about being present and soaking up life.
“Live. And live well.
BREATHE. Breathe in and breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not
be past. Do not be future. Be now.
On a crystal-clear, breezy, 70-degree day, roll down the
windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.
If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool
autumn day to freeze your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.
Get knee-deep in a novel and lose track of time.
If you bike, pedal HARD…and if you crash, then crash well.
Feel the satisfaction of a job well done—a paper well-written,
a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.
If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year-old’s nose, don’t
be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all…because soon he’ll be wiping his own.
If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And grieve well.
At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re
eating and laughing at the same time, then you might as well laugh until you puke.
And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because it is most definitely a gift.”
Chad Fagundes is Men’s and Outreach Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-582-1528.