This morning I attended the life celebration of an incredible man of God, Rev. Charles Thompson. “Reverend T” as he was affectionately referred to was used powerfully by God in the very church I am currently blessed to serve in. He served as pastor of Southside Church for many many years before becoming the District Superintendent. I never had the chance to meet him personally, but after today’s service I feel I know him immeasurably more than I did just a few hours ago. To say the service was moving would be an understatement. I attended as an honor to his life, to his family, and to the untold legacy he has left behind. In fact, the facility we celebrated his life in was a part of the vision God had given him for Richmond and its surrounding counties. I listened to person after person, story after story, memory after memory, testimony after testimony to the sacrifices of this man; a man marked more than anything else, by humility. A man enjoying his reward while I type these words.
And as I sat there in the black suit I don’t often put on, I felt something in the inside pocket of my suit jacket. I reached in and pulled a card out just enough to read its heading, “In Loving Memory of Markelle M. Dumm”. I was immediately taken 5 months into the past to where I was privileged to join in the life celebration of my wife’s sister, Markelle. (You can read about that if you’d like.) Apparently I had left that memorial card in my jacket pocket ever since that day.
While it may be awkward and a tad embarrassing to admit it, my mind wandered for a few minutes. Not merely on Markelle and her life, but on some truths that to you and I are inescapable. We’d do well to stop and recalibrate on these truths…
What we see is not all there is. You and I exist currently in time and space. You’re no doubt reading this on a screen that has probably dedicated a corner of its space to the time of day. You won’t have to wait long at all before you see another minute pass. There. You’re a minute closer to death. Before you label me Debbie Downer, hear me out. I (and perhaps you too) need to snap out of the haze that living temporal lives creates around us. The ever-present temptation is to believe that what we see, taste, touch, smell, and hear is what constitutes reality. But 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “…what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Your life makes a difference. This is not nearly as poetic as some might think. This is simply a fact. No matter who you are, what you do, where you go, or how you live, your life DOES make a difference. The question then becomes: “What kind of difference does it make?” Embrace your responsibility as a created human to allow your Creator to use your life to make a difference for good and for God in the lives of others and when its all said and done, people will gather to celebrate your life as well. Colossians 3:17 encourages us that “…whatever you do in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God.”
In the end, its all about Jesus. I know that some reading these words were tracking just fine with the first two, but bristle at this one. That’s okay. I don’t have to fight, argue, or prove anything. What I do want to do is to right now urge you if you have not done so to turn everything, EVERYTHING over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is in HIS presence we all will stand, it is through HIS will that you read these words now, and it is by HIS grace that we may come to Him at all. Philippians 2:10 foretells “…that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” If you’d rather not be all about Jesus right now, that’s okay. Like I said I don’t have to fight, argue, or prove anything. Let me simply say that every person in all of history will one day proclaim Him as Lord of all. I simply choose to start early.
You’ll be glad to know that I soon got my focus back on the celebration I was sitting in, but in those moments I was struck by these powerful truths that I’m confident God was nudging my heart toward.