I don’t travel often. I guess it’s just easier to stay home. There are so many preparations to be made, especially if you’re leaving the country. Along with flights, lodging and appropriate wardrobe, the extended absence from job, family, friends and church need to be considered. There may be loose ends to tie up and special arrangements made.
Ready or not, each of us will one day depart from this planet. We won’t have to concern ourselves with transportation, hotels and clothing, but what about all those people we’ll suddenly leave behind? Will we exit earth with those proverbial loose ends still untied? As of now, do we run the risk of entering eternity having left sorrow or pain in our wake? Will there be gracious words left unspoken that were needed for healing, or loving actions left undone that would have paved the way for peace? Needless to say, unlike a planned vacation, we may have zero time for last minute deeds of preparation.
Two years ago, I sat with a dear friend and spiritual mentor as she journeyed from earth to heaven. I know why her flight home was so peaceful. During her funeral, her beautiful legacy of love was confirmed over and over again as one by one her many friends were compelled to share their stories, recounting the difference she had made in their lives. Her life was like a treasure chest that was opened for all to see, brimming with brilliant jewels that sparkled with the warm tears of grateful mourners.
When I am seventy or eighty years old, I may indeed be able to say “I’ve lived a full life.” But dare I ask my future self, “What was it full of”? Did I basically live for my own happiness? Or was I present and useful in the lives of others day in and day out, no matter the cost? Did I regularly invest in others with a servant’s heart or did I spend my 30,000 days on earth seeking only comfort and pleasure?
Have I made sure that all my relatives have heard the Gospel of Jesus from me? Did I embrace divine appointments with enthusiasm? Did I share the money that was entrusted to me with a generous heart? Did I spend the time entrusted to me to guide, teach, cheer, feed, refresh, cry with, labor for, and generally love on others?
King Solomon wisely said, “Here is the conclusion of the matter: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.”
His commandments can all be summed up just as Jesus said in Mark chapter 12:30-31, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”