Live Your Dash

Imagine this . . . Jesus and his friends were sitting in the courtyard of the Temple one day. There was a long line of people from the church bringing their offerings and dropping them in a bucket. Most were making a big show out of how much they had to give. Can you just imagine some of these guys pouring their gold? Maybe they intentionally brought smaller coins so it would seem like they were giving more. . . like a little kid wanting a pocket full of pennies rather than a single dollar bill. . .

All of a sudden, snickering and pointing overtook the crowd! A little, feeble lady was making her way to the pillar with her offering. No one even saw the gift! She probably had it tightly clenched in her hands so she wouldn’t drop it. . . It’s was all she had! Those two copper coins falling into the bucket barely made a sound! The pointing and jeering on the other hand was deafening!

Jesus looked to his friends and said, “this lady has given more than all the rest!” Can you just imagine the look on the their faces? I bet they were floored! Then Jesus made a statement which stunned them! “The others gave from their abundance. . . she gave all she had!” She probably didn’t know where her next meal would come from! (Mark 12:41-44 (Amplified Bible))

My dad suffered a massive stroke about 7 months back. He passed away just a few weeks ago. But, we saw God move in him in some miraculous ways! The night of his stroke, the ER doctors were convinced that he would be brain dead! They saw no brain activity! He spent the weekend in ICU and just a few days later, they were ready to discharge him to a nursing home. They saw no potential for improvement! God on the other hand, saw plenty!

I’ll never forget a conversation we had one day in rehab. “Son, what good am I? What am I supposed to do? I can’t do anything. . . I’m not going to be any good to anybody!” My response. . . “dad, you do your part. . . God will do His!” You see it really doesn’t matter how much we have to give. It’s not the quantity, but the quality! Dad’s last 6 months were spent surviving, fighting and clinging to life. But for God, Dad became a walking, breathing example of His healing and Grace!

We all have our struggles. I have mine, you have yours. I will be the first to admit, mine may seem pretty petty and lame compared to what you’re walking through right now. But, one thing I know, if your faith is in God He has you covered! He never promised us a Rose Garden, just that He would make good come from bad. When Joseph’s brothers betrayed him and sold him into slavery, they had no idea what they were really doing! Years later when the famine in Egypt was at its worst, their father sent them to the palace for food. They encountered Joseph! Some time later, when they realized who it was that was giving them food and provision, they begged for his forgiveness. Joseph’s response, “What you intended for harm, God intended for good!” (Genesis 50)

A lot of the time, the situations we find ourselves in are actually the consequences for decisions we’ve made. May be good. May be bad. But you know, sometimes bad things just happen! The true substance of character is found in our reaction to those tough times. That’s when you find out what you’re standing on! If your foundation is anything that you have created, I guarantee it can crumble beneath you! Put your faith in the one who created everything and you won’t fall! Scripture tells us that before the creation of time, before there was anything. . . there was God! He was, He is and always will be! He has no beginning and no end! We on the other hand, have both!

So my question to you today is, “what are you doing with your ‘Dash’?” The time between your birth and the day you step into the presence of an Almighty God. What will you be remembered for? We’ve all heard the comments at funerals of how easy it was to find good material to share from a particular person’s life. I’ve also been in just the opposite position! Unfortunately, there are those of us who waste everything God has given us! We come to the end with absolutely nothing to show for it! I’m not talking about things, not material possessions! I’m talking about those things which matter! Life. Love. Dreams pursued. Family. Friends. A love for God. A life lived for God.

Philippians 3:12-14 (Amplified Bible)
12Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
    13I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
    14I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.
My one goal, my aim is to please God in all that I do. And yes! I have screwed up so many times I can’t even count them. . . really don’t want to remember them either. But what I know matters is how I live from THIS day forward! Everyday I make the commitment to put one foot in front of the other. I commit to God to walk through the valley, or climb the mountain. . . which ever He has in store for me that day! I admit that I can’t change anything from my past. But, I can, without a doubt affect what happens in my life from this day forward. When my life lines up with what God wants for me, my decisions and my reactions will honor Him. Without a doubt!
So my question to you is this, “What are you doing with your ‘Dash’?” If I died today, my obituary would read, Born February 17, 1971 – Died September 6, 2009. What would the dash say about me? What would the dash say about you?

(Title and theme inspired by Chapel message by Kirk Nielsen, Coastal Christian High School, September 2, 2009)

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