Altar Call -- Opelika-Auburn News
January 10, 2010
Live today as though it may be your last day
A funeral always reminds me that my days are numbered. Every person has a limited time to live. No one is guaranteed three score and ten. You can be here today and be gone tomorrow. That is just the way life is.
I paid little attention to the death of children until one day my own son died. He lived one month past his third birthday. Since then I have helped many grieving parents bury a child. That has to be one of the toughest assignments a pastor ever has to handle. Tears come so easily while words seem stuck in your throat.
Life can be cut short and sometimes cruelly as in an automobile accident. Etched strongly in my memory are the sights and sounds of a funeral for a little boy dressed in his Little League uniform and wearing his baseball cap. His baseball glove and a baseball were by his side in the casket. I can still hear the awful moaning and sobbing of his mother.
Life is not lived on a placid sea. There are many storms along the way to the safe harbor on the other side. Some die in the prime of life like the brave soldiers who have died fighting for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. Others die slowly, painfully, sometimes struggling for years with cancer or other diseases.
Why bring up such a gloomy subject? Why call attention to the brevity of life? Because we tend to take life for granted. Because we need to be reminded that life is precious, so precious that we should strive to live each day to the fullest. If we are wise we will live each day as though it may our last one.
None of knows how much time we have left. Whatever it is we wish to do, we had better get busy doing today! We need to examine our ways. If we are using our time frivolously, we may want to change the way we are living.
Charlie was a grouchy old fool. He kissed his little dog several times a day but never kissed his wife. He is dead now and I don’t think he ever figured out why his wife was so ill-tempered. She spoke more kindly to the dog than she did to her husband. I think I know why. Charlie and Maude were strange. Somewhere along the way they stopped kissing each other and began kissing the little dog.
When my wife and I visited Charlie and Maude in their home, Charlie would greet us lukewarmly. Then while we chatted the dog would jump up on Charlie’s lap. I learned to be careful where I sat; one of the chairs belonged to the dog.
Instead of talking with us Charlie talked quietly to his dog. The dog whimpered and wagged his tail. It did not take long to realize that the dog was more important to Charlie than his company.
As we were leaving their home, after this charming visit, Charlie would say to his little dog, "Tell the preacher and his wife ‘Bye Bye.’” Only God knows which of us was the happiest that this visit was over-- me or the dog.
Please understand that I do not object to a man kissing his dog. It is a free country. A man can kiss all the dogs he wants to kiss as far as I am concerned. But when a man has the opportunity to converse with human beings, why not let the precious little dog go chew on his rubber bone for a few minutes?
Maggie kept two beautiful birds in a cage. She introduced them to me as "Tweetie" and "Petey." She claimed the birds could talk and sing but they never proved it to me. They were kept in the den where we sat to talk, and the dear woman always paid more attention to the birds than she did to me.
Birds are nice. I do not object to people housing and talking to birds. But why not give them their own sunroom so they can cheerfully chirp out there while human beings carry on a conversation in the den?
So what is the point of this dog and bird story? Since a man does not have long to live in this world, he should have enough sense to understand that people are more important than dogs or birds.
Sooner than you think, you will be done kissing. So choose carefully what you are kissing or talking to these days and make sure your choice can do more than bark or tweet. After all you will soon be dead so while you are alive, do much more than kiss the dog and talk to the birds. Live each day as though it is your last day and make a difference in some person’s life. + + +