“I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions?”
– Matthew West, from “Motions” –
Funerals aren’t so bad.
All the ones before today were tolerable. A few tears, a heart-wondering at how a body can just be empty of soul. How can aliveness be suddenly gone?
But the ponderings go heavenward and turn sweet at the edges, the after-glow of the sun setting soft on skin.
And it’s not so hard to remember that there’s an eternity and God is there too, holding and communing with living souls. Souls in worship, in delight far beyond ours. Far past our ant-like perspective, finally seeing the big-picture of all that was suffered and blessed and made whole in this thread that is earth-life.
But today was not one of those not-so-bad funerals.
It was a heart-scarring that happens when people who don’t know God are snatched away and the lost-too family is left groping. And I don’t have the words to comfort.
Some, like the preacher at the front, pray that the family will be comfortable.
Meanwhile, in the back, one face in a sea of them, I stand with eyes closed to the beaming-down sun and pray that God will let His own Son’s beams come down. To first make them uncomfortable—that the comfort won’t be a Band-aid on the broken pieces, but will be a contrite spirit that leads them to the only Source of comfort.
I hear the obituary—of hobbies and games and quirks and little “white” sins that are supposed to be funny.
Oh, how sad to be remembered as a game player.
How desolate, to be held in memory as a cheat.
What life-poverty, to be only recalled as ornery, one who can talk her way out of trouble.
What then, will be said of me after I take that last breath?
On my deathbed, I don’t want to have to wonder if I made a difference.
Like Matthew West’s song:
“I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything…?”
Life will have questions, regrets. All of us that are human, besides Jesus Himself, will have regrets. We’ll wish something had been different.
Some of us will regret time wasted on frivolity.
Others will be sorry that what we perceived as spiritual crowded out the “small things,” the little gifts of the heart, to the least of these.
To be sure, at the end, His glory shining in our eyes will make our failures fade. Glory, because Christ leads us to triumph at last.
Joy, because His grace covered so much.
But, oh, how much we will regret each stepping off the path. We will mourn each moment we were not perfectly yielded to His plan.
We will have rejoicing. Yet, when tried by fire, how many of our works will remain?
I will never believe that works get us into heaven.
That is Christ’s doing alone.
But the Bible is clear on this—God wants to reward us for obedience. How good is this, girls? To reward us for what we only accomplished in His strength!
Don’t feel guilty about thinking about rewards. In a lecture on stewardship, teacher Randy Alcorn agreed that asking for rewards would be wrong of us. However, for God to offer them—this is just another grace.
As Mr. Alcorn taught, what could be more amazing than a loving Father giving rewards to the undeserving? For Him to bridge the gap and then to keep on bridging, for Him to pick us up and then be the One to keep carrying us all the way home—does this bend you to your knees?
A Parent giving a Christmas present to the child who couldn’t even stay good one day, much less all year. A Parent who knows the child deserves coal, but instead showers him with gifts, because He is good. Because He can. Because He loves.
What kind of love would do that?
The kind of Love that died, but couldn’t be kept down.
The kind of Love that is able to keep you from falling.
The kind of Love that will fill you if you will bow to Him.
How much are you willing to give?
How much joy do you want to give Him, of how great a reward He gets to give the child He ransomed?
Will you surrender?
Or, at the end of this vapor-life, will you have to wonder?
“What if I had given Him all of me?”
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
– Matthew 16:25, NIV –