When I was a college student, I heard and saw a lot of things. As a Christian, there were many times that I chose to omit a reading assignment, simply because of my personal beliefs. Other than that, I was the studious student who sat in the front row every day, always asking and answering questions, eager to participate in the class as much as I possibly could without dominating the conversation, which I am sure I often did. The professors loved having me in their class, always complimenting me on my obvious love for knowledge. All of my hard work paid off when I achieved a 4.0 GPA on my Master of Science degree, having completed all six years of college with honors. Of course, I give all of the praise and honor and glory to Jesus Christ, for without Him, I am nothing. Without Him, I could not do anything. But with God on my side, I can do anything!
While my college career was primarily a positive one, there was one assignment that I learned about in one of my education classes that disturbed me. The professor said a worthwhile assignment in an English class for middle or high school students would be to have them write their obituary. As the words spilled out of their mouth, I was shocked and horrified that this professor would ask mere children and teenagers to write their own obituary. How mortifying! I was greatly relieved when I learned that we would not have to personally complete this exercise ourselves. And while I now understand the merit in the assignment, I much prefer asking my students to write positive, upbeat poetry, essays, and stories. Nevertheless, I do think it is something we should not necessarily do, but we should all certainly think about.
Now before you get bent out of shape like I was originally, I do not want you to leave this blog or on the contrary, run and grab your pen and paper to begin writing. Instead, I want you to look at the way you are living your life. When you go to work, do you have a smile on your face? Or is your face twisted up into a sour expression? Do you greet people in the checkout lane at the grocery store, or do you give them a grimacing look because they got ahead of you in line by one millisecond? And when you go to church on Sunday, do you have a smile on your face and greet everyone sweetly, only to get in the car on the way home and complain about the pastor’s sermon being too long? Or do you go home and ponder what the pastor said, reading your Bible and studying the scriptures more carefully to get ready for the week ahead? You see, living life isn’t just about getting up and going to work, eating dinner and going to bed, just to repeat the process the next day. Life should be about living.
When a teacher’s students are asked to write an obituary for themselves, they must think about the way other people view their lives. How do people see them? What have they done that would be remembered? And how have they treated their family, their friends, their neighbors, coworkers, pastor, and even strangers on the street? These are the things people will remember. Most will not even know if you remembered to feed the cat this morning, whether you came to the annual Christmas party last year, or if you donated money to a charity last month online. They are going to remember how you act every single day of the year. They will remember how you carry yourself on good days and bad. They will recall whether or not you have a cheery disposition or a gloomy one. They will remember if you lived a life for yourself or a life for Christ.
So the next time you are in the grocery store, be the person who sees someone with fewer items in their cart and offer to allow them to skip ahead of you in line. Be the individual who smiles all of the time, regardless of what is going on around you. Be the person who people want to be around. Not because of the clothes you wear, the car you drive or the way you look, but because of the way you act. Be the one who keeps their head held high, grateful for each and every new day, rain or shine. Be the light in a world of darkness. Be the change this world needs. Let the joy of Jesus Christ shine forth in such a way that it is contagious! Through your Christ-like example, people will be reminded that life isn’t about sweating the small stuff. Life is about living.
In Christ’s Love,