I may touch on some sensitive topics in this one, so please know up front it is not my intention to inflame or offend, only to make one consider.
I am not sure why, but during worship the other week my mind drifted to the thoughts of those who, for one reason or another, made the tragic decision to end their life. It may have had something to do with one of the characters in the Andy Andrews book “The Noticer”. An elderly woman who thought she had nothing to contribute and was just spending her days waiting to die. In effect, she had committed suicide. While she was still technically alive, the life had gone out of her. She had watched as her friends, relatives and husband all passed on. The pain of loss was so great she was unable to move forward and establish new relationships. Unable to LIVE.
At any rate, if you take the pain out of the equation, physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. this leaves us very much in the place Jesus spoke about in Matthew 5. Life, with its pain, losses and just general byproducts of a fallen world can make us want to just sit around and wait until the end comes. I think that is why so many Christians are enthralled with all things eschatological (Someone owes me at least $3 for that word). Eschatology being the study of end times. “When Jesus comes back”. So enthralled with the final scene that they are effectively not living out their PRESENT redemption! We were redeemed – bought with a price – not to sit around making maps, charts, and graphs plotting some final battle when bugs that look like tiny flying horses are going to get wiped out by nuclear weapons, except for Jerusalem because those missiles will all fall as duds at the outskirts of town and be cleaned up by guys in white suits foretold in Ezekiel (and we wonder why people think we’re nuts). We were redeemed so we could go tell others that this life is NOT all there is. To go serve others. To go comfort others.
When the woman in “The Noticer” gets a new perspective, looks at things differently, she finds she has a lot of life left. There is still a lot to do. Gifts to be used.
And so it is with us. No matter what life throws at us, there is still a lot to do, gifts to be used. People to be served. Lives to be changed.