"We're crossing over, one by one
We're fast approaching the setting sun
Don't let Him catch you with your work undone
We're crossing over, one by one."
I believe I was either 16 or 17 the first time I heard that song...yes some odd 20 years ago. We were at a musical to sing and the choir marched in singing this song. The choir wasn't as large as it was known to be but the choir still marched in from the back door which took about five minutes extra since most of the singers were senior citizens. I found it odd that they would choose to march in on that song because well, many of them would soon be crossing over, as the song said. I never forgot this song and occasionally sing it because well, it's a catchy song! This year has been an eye-opening year. Both because of the losses we've endured and because I'm doing something that will forever impact my legacy. I pray all the time for at least 40-50 more years here on earth and I know that God has already numbered my days, but we'll see about that, in the end.
One line in the song that feels the most morbid is: "Don't let Him catch you with your work undone." What happens if He does? Do we get in trouble in Heaven? Do we lose our reward? What about the fact that all our works go up in flames in the end, anyway? Then I thought about it, we know what God has given us to do...but we don't do it. We think that we have as long as we want until sickness creeps up on us then we'll have time to do it slowly as our bodies fade away. That's not true. There are countless difference makers whose lives were cut short before they reached the fullness of their potential. What about the people who knew all along and started late and ran out of time before the Lord called them home? What about them? What about you? What about me?!?
One thing I don't want to happen is to discover that the time God gave me wasn't long enough to do what He required of me.
This past week has been really tough for me and so many people that I know and love. We are mourning loss like never before. It's been said in jest but in reality, people are dying who have never died before. Your favorite singer, musician, Pastor, co-worker, neighbor...people you've always had close to you, the ones you could always count on to be there whether their health was optimal or abysmal...they're crossing over! Fixtures within our community that we could always count on to be present in the moment...are now memories, in the sands of time! Have they completed their work, or was their time simply up? As a person who has attended more funerals than I can remember, I can tell you that time cut many people and their work short and that few accomplished the fullness of their life's purpose. It's cute and comforting to say that some completed their work in shorter time and left us sooner than we'd like, but for many that is simply untrue! If you're over the age of 21 and reading this, congratulations!
Congratulations on living through your youth and, welcome to adulthood when we all have to make life-altering decisions on our own, each moment of the day. At whatever age you are, you've got to know that there is somebody somewhere who didn't live to see the age you are now. In middle school, we lost Toby. He was a fifth grader and he forgot his house key and went back inside through a window to get it. The window came down on him and he couldn't get from under it before he suffocated. In high school, seems like there was a death each year, Earnest, Bart, Elizabeth and another student whose name I don't remember all died before we graduated in 2000. After graduation, we lost Manuela and James, classmates from elementary school and middle school, respectively.
Last year, we lost April...one of my oldest friends. In fact, I'd known April for the better part of 30 years and we kept in touch on Facebook, quite often. And yet, here I am. The question looms, what am I doing with this gift of time that God has given me? Am I working the work that God has placed in my hands? Am I? Are you? Do you ever stop to wonder what God thinks of your life? Sometimes I wish I could a progress report or something! An update even...something, anything to let me know I'm on pace to hear "well done" when it's all said and done! Wherever you are and whatever you've been commissioned to do, let's get to work! If you've begun...work to finish strong! If you have yet to start...get started, what are you waiting on?
If you just don't know, let's pray and agree together that God will make it known to you! As the song said, "we're fast approaching the setting sun". We don't have forever and even as the bible promised 70 years in Moses' day, we know very well that many of us won't make it to that milestone. With that in mind, let's commit to doing better and working the work that has been placed in our hands because we don't want the Lord to call us before our work is done and we certainly don't want to hear anything besides: "well done thou good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of the Lord."