each us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
One afternoon in 2010 I drove to a cemetery near my home. I wanted voices from the past to speak to me through the messages on their headstones.
I parked my car in a shady spot then walked carefully and quietly where husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, and friends were buried.
“Beloved husband and father”
“My life is not over. Yesterday was not the end.”
“Gone too soon; never forgotten.”
After about twenty minutes and pondering each headstone, I listed the years of my life from my current age to 100, each year scribbled inside tiny squares on a lined piece of notebook paper. I finished, then stared at the page. When reduced to single years on a single page, the brevity of life felt overwhelming.
“That’s it? That’s all there is?” (Or could be, depending on how long the Lord keeps me alive.)
Jesus’ words came to mind. “. . . your life is but a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
Some of the lives represented in the cemetery were long, some were short—but all had the opportunity to make a difference for God in the time they had been given.
Urgency shot through my heart as I looked out once more over the headstones. “I don’t have long! The chance they had to make a difference on the earth is over, but I still have a chance. My chance is now! I need to make the most of my time to make a difference for Christ and to love others to heaven.”
There is something in every person alive that longs to know that their presence on the earth matters. No one, when lying on their death bed hopes to say, “I wasted my days.” Rather, they want the dash on their headstone in-between their birth and death to mean something.
But what does it mean to make a difference? What does it mean to live a life of significance?
When Jesus gave us the two greatest commandments, he said, “Love God and love others.” Since these are the two greatest commandments, we can be certain that anything we do that falls into the “Love God” or “Love others” categories is measured by God with favor.
Whatever you do, do it with all of your heart as unto the Lord (Col. 3:22-24) and keep love in mind. Then, when you get home to heaven, and someone is looking over your headstone, you will hear God say. . .
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23).
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the years that you have given. Should you give me more, please help me to live for you and share your love, moment by moment, everywhere I go.
Application: List your years on a piece of paper and ponder how you want to live out the remainder of your days.