Louie’s sermon was titled Fully Alive and it really did a job on my soul. One point really stuck with me and I find myself continually talking about it with others. Louie highlighted Paul’s letter to the Philippians and focused on chapter 1 where Paul shares his struggle to die or not to die. If he were to die he’d instantly be in the arms of Jesus but to remain on earth he’d be able to continue sharing the love of Christ.
I’d always viewed this passage as encouragement for us to be content in all circumstances. Good and profit can be found anywhere. But Louie put a new twist on it for me. The goal of the people in the early church was not to live a long life; they worked to live a powerful life – one that served Christ and made his name known no matter the cost. If that meant a shortened life – so be it. It only meant that they’d be united with Christ sooner.
I was struck by the thought that so much of my time is wasted. I spend countless hours working hard to live long and look good as I’m doing it. I try to prevent my body from aging but allow my soul to wither. I then look in the mirror with discontentment. Paul did talk about a “thorn in his flesh” but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a need for a facelift or liposuction. He knew his days were limited and he was single-minded in spreading Jesus’ message to love God and to love others.
This passage revealed to me how egocentric I’ve become, especially when compared to the “other-centric” views of the early church. I’m consumed with the quality and quantity of my life. I work hard to obtain this so we can enjoy that. On the other hand, the early church worked hard to share this so other people can receive that, meaning eternal life with Christ. I desire a long, prosperous life but the early church longed for eternal life.
I do think there is value and great need in taking care of our self. If we have poor health, we’re limited in what we can do and where we can go to serve God. Plus, it’s often when I’m outdoors or on a run when I hear God clearest.
The take-home God gave me that day was not to work out less. But He did challenge me in how I use my time. The early church faced death daily. They lived in a time of occupation that purged those who challenged the system. But in spite of it they changed the world.
I’m blessed to live in a free country, in a time when medicine has enabled us to live longer and engineers have made it possible to travel the world in hours. I’ve been given the gift of time, freedom and ease of travel (except when traveling through Salt Lake City – we always seem to get stuck there). What am I doing with my days? Am I using my minutes to truly loving God and neighbor? Or am I wasting the extra time I’ve been given and consuming God’s love and hoarding it for myself?
I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions but this year I think that I will. I want to begin truly living my life fully alive. I want to live like the early church as if I may face death at any moment. I want to use what God has given our generation to help change the world. If enough of us do it together – imagine what God will do through us.
Are you living your life fully alive?
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
If not, will you join me and fully live the time God has given us and give His love to others?