“I got a phone call yesterday,” Stan began, “telling me that a friend of mine boarded the train. I hadn’t seen him face-to-face for some time, but we kept in touch.”
“Had he been sick?” I asked.
“No,” Stan replied, “he was in good health and productive until the end of his long life.”
“How old was he?”
“97. He would have been 98 in just a few days.”
“That is a long life,” I responded. “And you say he was productive until the end?”
“Sure was,” Stan responded. “He had a profound impact on me and on many people. He helped change lives and eternal destinations wherever he went for as long as he lived.”
“It was great that he was able to spend so many years here,” I commented.
“The Lord chooses long lives for some and short ones for others,” Stan replied, “And it’s a valuable lesson for me to approach each day I have with the idea that it may be my last on this side of eternity.”
“A while back,” he added, “I became interested in reading about a man who had a profound impact on the Christian revival in Scotland in the nineteenth century. He died when he was only 29.”
“Who was that?” I asked.
“A man by the name of Robert Murray M’Cheyne,” Stan replied. “His life was a short one, but he had a major impact on countless lives and eternal destinations. He literally helped change the spiritual direction of an entire country, and his life is still affecting lives and eternal destinations today.”
“So,” I replied, “one life was short and productive, and one life, like your friend’s, was long and productive. I guess the key is to choose to be productive regardless of how long God keeps me on this side of eternity.”
“More than a guess, my friend,” Stan said. “I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Continuing, he added, “I certainly have no idea how long God is going to leave me here on this side of eternity, but my role is to be who and what He intends for as long as He wants.”
Bible verses to consider:
How many are the days of your servant? Psalm 119:84.
Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the extent of my days, let me know how transient I am. Psalm 39:4.
What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should endure? Job 6:11.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that I have the assurance of salvation so that I know I will spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you for leaving me on this side of eternity so I can work out the salvation you have worked in. I acknowledge that how long you choose to leave me here is your choice. My choice is to be yours, doing what you intend, for as long as you keep me here. I confess that too often I choose to do what I want to do apart from you, rather than being and doing as you intend. Please help me in following every step of your lead in being yours for as long as you want. I thank you for each new day, and I ask for your help in making the most of each one for you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you have the assurance of salvation for when your time here is finished? If no, why? What is standing in the way of accepting by faith God’s free and gracious provision? If you have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing in living for God each day you have remaining? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense changes may be needed, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?