We received another reminder this week of how quickly life can change or end when Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov drove his truck along a bike path on the West Side of Lower Manhattan, killing eight and injuring twelve. These twenty people were simply enjoying a beautiful afternoon when, without warning, their lives were changed forever.
As the reality of yet another senseless act of violence sank in, my thoughts once again returned to these verses from the writings of James chapter 4:13-15.
And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.’ (The Message)
It would seem that after all these years and all the reminders, ‘being but a wisp of fog’ would be imbedded firmly in my brain. But it’s not. Whether it’s another terrorist attack, another death of an elderly mentor, a death resulting from an alcohol-related automobile accident, the shooting of another teenager, or another child succumbing to cancer, the shock is always there. The news of a life coming to an end is always a painful and unsettling reminder that we really are…nothing but a wisp of fog.
My intention is not to elicit guilt for the time that has passed or insinuate that any of it has been wasted, or do I want to instill panic that you have little of it left. I just want you to think about what you are doing with this little wisp of fog God has given you.
As you read these words, you are healthy, wealthy and wise. You are full of life, your heart is strong, your brain is clear. You have plans and you are making more. You have dreams and you will keep dreaming more. So as your mist floats along, I offer these suggestions.
Jesus said, “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10, The Message) No need to wait until the end of your life for eternal life to appear. Enjoy it now! Live fully. Live abundantly. Live lavishly. Live completely.
Spice it up!
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13, NIV) As the salt, God wants you to preserve what is good, “You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.” (The Message) Have fun along the way and encourage others to have fun. Be generous when others are being selfish. Be gracious and kind when others are rude and discourteous. As Tim McGraw sings, “Always be humble and kind.” (Actually, I think Jesus said and lived that first.)
Light it up!
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV) Do good deeds so God will be glorified. If someone sees you do something and praises you for it, don’t worry about it. You are His tool to bring light into darkness. Just do good and don’t expect anything in return.
If you make it your aim to enjoy life in this very moment, an interesting thing happens. You will automatically spice it up, and by doing that, you will light it up, brightening the path for other mists of fog…and who doesn’t enjoy that?!
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved