I attended the visitation service this past weekend for a man I never met.
His name is Steve. He’s the husband of our youngest daughter’s 3rd grade teacher, a woman who actually has taught all three of our daughters at the same elementary school. Steve was only 60 years old, a healthy-as-a-horse athlete whose racing bibs hung on long strings around the church lobby like party streamers. He was planning to retire next month from a 31-year career teaching chemistry at UW-Stevens Point so that he and his wife (who also was set to retire) could travel and spend more time with their kids and grandkids.
And now he’s gone. He died while training for a triathlon.
Looking at all the photos and sympathy notes and racing bibs decorating the walls, it was hard to be unimpressed by this man. The mementos testified that Steve lived a very full and worthwhile life. The stunned looks on many people’s faces also testified that his death came as a shock, as if there was no way he should have passed away when he did.
But really, why not? That a man as active and accomplished and warmly loved as Steve was could be taken so unexpectedly was a cold reminder that we’re all headed there. Few of us will die in a similar way, but we’re going to die. Death has a very good batting average against humanity.
What are you doing with your time here? What are you doing to take full advantage of God’s gift of life to you? It’s a very big world with a lot of hurts — hurts that God has given you gifts to help rectify. He has given us all gifts that He intends for us to use for His glory and the benefit of others.
Maybe you don’t expect to die today. I certainly don’t. But if you do, what will the story of your life say?