"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task
the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace." (Acts 20:24, NIV)
Buying automobiles is an art. Kick a tire. Tap a fender. Drive the thing.
Assessing a life is the same. God looks at us, evaluates our heart, and seeks to find fruit born out our living. What does He see?
Yesterday on my way home from the office I decided to stop at the local park and go for a run. For those trying to picture a pastor running around Rec Park in a suit and tie....stop! I changed into running clothes before leaving the church. As I ran the 1.2 mile loop the thought occurred to me concerning all the miles on my body. All the childhood games I played, all the school yard fun, all the work on the farm, all the work in jobs after high school, the regimen of running lately that has brought new wear and tear, has either had a toll on me or has strengthened me. Oh sure, I have aches and pains. Curiously, I have more aches and pains when I don't engage regularly in exercise or running.
Through all the mileage, what kinds of beneficial rewards have emerged from all that work and play? Did I fulfill the duties set before me to propagate Jesus Christ and His message of Good News? Who have I loved and influenced along the way. Where did I show up and lift one's spirit simply because I was there? Conversely, where did I fall and fail to influence, love, and lift. The former gives me reason to celebrate, the letter pushes me to engage more deeply.
Have you ever thought of your own body? How many miles have you logged? Nobody knows that number aside from God. For all the mileage, for all the aches and pains, and for all the times of rest, one needs to consider the end result. Whether we're discussing cars or our bodies the way we maintenance both is critical to productivity. And, the only way to evaluate the end result of all the mileage is in looking back. How has your journey gone? Have there been stretches of winding, treacherous road? Has your journey resembled a drive across Iowa? Maybe your journey looks more like a street in Manhattan, NY.
In any case, the path you've traveled is yours. Own it.
One day this body of mine will sigh a final time. Those who know me will grieve and I will be laid to rest somewhere. From dust to dust might be uttered by a pastor and then the real journey begins...
If there is one thing I would hope would be gouged into the monument that marks my bodily resting place would be this, "High mileage, no visible rust, and ran till the end."
"But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all
the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has
come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the
faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will
award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:5-8, NIV)
You and I are living differently but employed by the same person. Jesus calls us to work for Him and to leave no stone unturned and no person unloved. At the end of our journey, never let it be said, "they died of a rusted heart."