A Life Well Lived :: By Holly Spate

I never thought I would be spending the holiday helping to plan a funeral… a funeral to honor one of the most important people in my life, my uncle. But that’s how the year ended and the new year began. My uncle’s passing was a shock to the system. He meant the world to me. He will always mean the world to me.

You see, my uncle was very kind, fun, giving. He had a true servant’s heart. He was a strong Christian and made it a point to do his best to always be there for everyone. He always gave freely of his time, his finances, his resources, and his love. He could brighten any room he entered and had a way of making everyone feel special. He was always there for me, and I’m forever thankful for the special relationship we’ve always shared.

A loved one’s passing generally has a way of jolting a person into truly contemplating the important things in life. My uncle’s passing did that for me. I have grown up knowing what’s most important in life, but viewing his life in more detail just reaffirms what I’ve known for some time… Life is best lived loving and serving others. Life is best lived being an instrument God can use to plant seeds and touch lives. I have no doubt when my uncle took his last breath on earth and his first step into heaven that he was greeted by Jesus with the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Isn’t that what every Christian, what every daughter and son in Christ, wants to hear?

His passing reminded me of the truth that none of us knows when we will take our final breath in this life. I never would have imagined my uncle would have left this earth so soon. It makes me realize even more how our time here is limited, our opportunities special and not to be wasted. It makes me realize all the more how we need to be about our Father’s business. We are not given a time table when we’re born, but we’re each entrusted with the time God gives to make an impact. We each have been given the same 24 hours in a day, and each needs to decide how we will spend the gift of a day. I’m thankful my uncle spent his time wisely. His example encourages me to spend my time wisely too.

I have peace knowing I will see my uncle again one day. I have peace knowing he is with Jesus and with family members and friends who have gone before. I miss him greatly, but I have peace knowing he’s simply changed addresses, and he’s the happiest he could ever be, and I’ll get to be with him again one day… for all eternity.

Life is truly a gift. Each day is truly a gift. The good seeds we sow now can reap a harvest that will last into all eternity. Our lives are to be lived selflessly… labors of love for those God puts in our paths.

I am so thankful God placed my uncle and me in the same family. I am thankful for his life well lived and the example he set for friends and family to follow. I am thankful God created him and thankful for the lives he touched, the seeds he planted, the love he gave, and the legacy he left.

As Christians, how shall we live our lives? How shall we spend our time?

Matthew 6:19-21 speaks to this: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

If you have never made the decision to accept Christ into your heart and know for sure where you’ll spend eternity, please ask Him into your heart today. He is waiting with open arms to accept you into His kingdom.

John 3:16 shows the deep, unconditional love He has for you: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Asking Jesus into your heart is the BEST decision you will ever make!

I’d like to conclude with a poem by Linda Ellis. I hope it blesses and makes an impression on your heart. And I pray that as you move forward in life, that you will make the most of each day so that one day you will hear the Savior say,

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

The Dash by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
From the beginning… to the end

He noted that first came the date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
Know what that little line is worth

For it matters not how much we own,
The cars… the house… the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering this special dash
Might only last a little while

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent YOUR dash?