I have a friend who went through a phase where he would try and go as long as possible without getting gas when his warning light came on in his car. He would ride on fumes for mile after mile, even driving with his a/c off in the middle of the summer, and then at the last possible moment he would creep into a gas station and fill up. Each time he did this he was playing a game of chicken with his gas tank and sometimes he lost. On more than one occasion I can recall bringing him a gallon of gas, once on a freeway onramp.
As crazy as that seems, do you realize that your entire life is a lot like that brief period of lunacy between the warning light coming on and my friends car coming sputtering to a stop. James says that “life is a vapor,” and he means that it will be over before you know it. No matter how old or young you are, the gas light is on and you are riding on fumes. It could go on for a long time or you could be dead by the end of the week. The harsh truth is, none of us are guaranteed anything beyond today.
The goal then should be to make this brief life count, but how do you do that?
Robert Murray McCheyne, an awesome Scottish preacher, used to regularly say “Live so as to be missed.” He died before his thirtieth birthday in 1843 and yet because of his laser-like focus on eternity and his infectious passion for lost people, he is still impacting people today, myself included, through his writings and his example. He lived so as to be missed.
2 Chronicles 21:20 describes someone who did just the opposite. It says, “Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.”
When you read about Jehoram you find out that he became king in Judah during the days of the divided kingdom, to wipe out the competition he murdered his own brothers. He married a daughter of the phenomenally wicked King Ahab, who ruled in Israel, and Jehoram led his people into the worship of idols. Finally, the prophet Elijah wrote him a letter letting him know that he was going to get an intestinal disease that would cause his bowels to fall out of his body. He died in agony. No one cared.
What a vivid contrast. I think that we all want our lives to count, to be missed and we’d definitely rather not have our bowels fall out! But what are you doing about that today? You must remember that you are writing your epitaph each day as you live your life. If the fumes ran out today and you died, would you be missed? Are you making your brief life count for eternity? It’s been well said, ‘Only one life, will soon be past, and only what’s done for Christ will last.’ May God fill you with His Spirit and give you the tenacity and the power to focus on Him, like a heat-seeking missile, that you might live to make Jesus famous in this world while you still have time.
Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.