Friday, September 14, 2012

Things That Matter (Or Lessons From a Graveyard)

Things That Matter (Or Lessons From a Graveyard)
By Dr. Dave Johnson
Assemblies of God Missionary to the Philippines

The other days some friends and I attended the funeral of a good friend, Pastor Andy, who died of cancer at the age of 49. This is the second funeral I’ve attended in the last few months of someone who, in my opinion, died far too young.

The last service was held at the cemetery. In the Philippines, the water table is too high to bury most people below the soil, so they are encased in cement in tombs above the ground with a gravestone on one end of the encasement. After the service, I found myself glancing around, reading names and pertinent dates on the other tombstones. I found myself asking “who were these people, what did they do with their lives, and what did they leave behind?” While I couldn’t answer these questions regarding these people, I could reflect on Pastor Andy’s life.

Although he wasn’t poor, Pastor Andy didn’t have much regarding the things of this world. I never heard him complain, and I will long remember his warm smile and kind demeanor. He had invested his life in pastoral ministry—caring for people in the name of Jesus. He loved both the Lord of the work and the work of the Lord.  What did he leave behind? A wife and three children who loved him, many friends, like me, who were deeply touched by his life, and no doubt countless others, whose lives were transformed by the gospel he preached. In the things that mattered, Pastor Andy was a rich man.

Like everyone else, I yearn for my life to count for something, to leave this world a better place, and to do something of benefit to others that will last long after I have gone on to glory. I know that, if done for God’s glory and His name, those dreams can be fulfilled. But I also hear the echo of the siren song of this world, luring me into the lie of self-fulfillment, self-aggrandizement, and building a name for myself, only to leave me shipwrecked on the shores of ruined dreams and broken lives. My prayer is that, like Pastor Andy, I would invest my life in things that matter. What about you?   

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Copyright 2012 Dr. Dave Johnson 

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