May 6, 2020
“Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Among other things in this past week I remembered a book by Tony Campolo entitled ‘Who Switched the Price Tags’. In it he sets out to instill fun into Christians for both personal and corporate life. (Maybe we all need more of that right now!) In his youth, Campolo and a friend considered breaking into the local five-and-dime store and switching all the price tags so that someone would, for example, buy a radio for $1.00 and a packet of Kleenex for $10.00 His thesis for the book was that our values have become turned upside down. And if you think about that for a while, I think you might agree. Things that ought to be treated as precious - like family, friends and faith are inconsequential to many, and things like a new BMW, membership in the country club and the climb up the corporate ladder are all too often considered of great importance.
Yet, even now we are being encouraged to reconsider our values – perhaps a hidden blessing from this pandemic? Just what is important and of greatest value to us right now?
In the course of writing this book, Campolo refers to a survey made among seniors over 95. They were asked, “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?” The three most significant and recurring responses were:
If I could live my life over again, I would reflect more:
If I could live my life over again, I would risk more:
If I could live my life over again I would do more things that would live on after I am dead.
Reflection is always good, if we take the time to actually do it. Perhaps start with a time (a particular year, maybe many years ago); or a person in your life, an event (graduation, anniversary etc.); a promise made (to self, to another). Ask the Lord to be a part of this reflection, to walk with you through your remember’ings. Pray about if afterwards. Give thanks for memories. Share, if and when appropriate.
Now ‘risk’ can be a loaded word. It may be prompted by your reflections (I wish I had done that; I should never have gone there etc.). But this is a word for now and the future. Remember; the people who said ‘they would risk more’ were likely not able to carry out their risk (at 95+) – you may still have time! What would you really like to do, say, achieve? What is sitting on that ‘to do’ list of your life? What springs to mind when you think ‘I have always wanted to …….I would love to be able to……’?
To do more that will live on after I am dead may seem like a daunting objective. Obviously sharing our faith is something we should always be giving away. However, I would encourage you to also think small. Reading to children, grand-children can be the most amazing legacy project. (Children will gladly listen to stories well beyond their own reading skills. In doing so, you open up their imagination for more). Some of us are more attracted to writing (a book, a poem etc.), or to creating art which has unlimited mediums. Perhaps you could plant a tree, many trees; even bulbs in the lawn that come up every Spring (thanks be to God). Again, ask the Lord to show you His ideas, just for you.
[I always remember a story about the Statue of Liberty; how even the hair on the very top of Liberty’s head is carefully delineated and coiffed by the artist – and few if anyone ever knew or had seen that detail – until helicopters were invented!]
Perhaps time is the theme. Right now, some have too much on their hands – others have too little. (And some may have it just right!) How we use our time, and Who we include in our life is a daily choice. Welcome the presence of our Shepherd; be a good sheep and follow on. You know his love for you; show your trust in Him. Now that can be a risk of itself, and can lead us into surprising and fulfilling places, opportunities, people and blessings. Maybe enough to put a smile on your face!
May you know the presence, peace and protection of our Lord throughout this week.
More children’s letters to God:
Dear God, Did you mean the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident? Norma
Dear God, Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones,
why don’t you just keep the ones you have now? Jane
Dear God, I went to wedding and they kissed right there in church. Is that O.K.? Tom