We went to a wedding last weekend and after the ceremony my daughter wanted to wander around the gravestones. Being an old church, many of the graves were worn and crumpled. It was almost as if they had been left abandoned. Trying to explain the idea of death and burial to a child is always tricky, but believing in a loving God will at least give them hope beyond the reality of the death that lies beneath the ground.
Despite being a place that signified the ending of life, there were still symbols of new life within it. The golden rays of light from the setting sun streamed down through the branches of the established trees, and the bright red berries hung happily off the healthy, growing vines. It struck me that the memories of those who died were not to be found in this place. Nor were their spirits. How can you fit a whole life on a gravestone? Their name, date of birth, date of death, along with a “dearly beloved” or a Bible verse engraved on the stone was all that was left of a life. The memories of a life lie with the people who were touched by that life. The child, the spouse, the neighbour, or the stranger down the street.
We have so many opportunities to touch the lives of others and leave the mark of Jesus’ love and light, but how often do we think of this in the day-to-day? Some people are given more time than others, some are given more opportunity. As teachers, we have this opportunity every day in the classroom. Those children will remember more of you than your Maths lesson or Science lesson. They will remember you, either for good or bad, or they will forget you, if you fail to leave a positive impression, or any impression at all. In what little time we have, we need to impact the lives of others for the better. We need to show love by caring, being positive with our words, by encouraging, strengthening, equipping, enabling and helping others. We need to teach our students to go out to do the same.
The reality of our broken world is that there will be death, and our lives will be impacted by this at some point. Every death however should serve as a reminder of the precious time we do have to actually make a difference in this world. What has God called you to do in your time here? What is your purpose? If you don’t know yet, then pray that He will reveal this to you. Pray He will give you the wisdom you need to discern your next steps in this life.
As Corrie Ten Boom said,
“The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.”
And as Christ reminds us also in John 10:10,
“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
He came so that we could live this life to the fullest, despite the death, despite the pain, despite the struggles. To live this life to the fullest we need to give love as Christ demonstrated, to donate love as Corrie Ten Boom reminds us. In the end, it doesn’t matter what we owned, where we lived, what we saved… it matters what we gave away, in the currency of love.