Tuesday, December 4, 2007

the end

things end. it's just the way life goes. we all know this, yet we seem to struggle against the end. sometimes endings can be good as we see when war ends, particularly tough times, bad relationships, etc. it was just announced (even though some folks have known for a while) that i am going back to school full time and won't be in my ministry position after this month. the kids and parents found out late last week. i am sad that i won't be in their lives to the extent i am now, and i know that they are feeling a tad bit abandoned (i am the 4th to come and go in the last few years), but they are also excited for me (because they love me as i love them... i thank them for their love) to get to pursue this dream. the goal is to end strong. i don't want to be a lame duck. no one wants that legacy yet we all tend to slip into that when we know something is ending. we stop caring, we begin focusing on what's next, and we tend to leave with regrets. i heard a story once (and i am going to completely butcher it) about a wealthy young man who was raised in a Christian home. he had not really been taken with his parents' faith and had graduated college and was ready to make his own mark in the world. his parents presented him with an opportunity to travel around the world and he took it (who wouldn't?). his chaperone on the trip was a strong believer and through their conversations, this young man became a Christian. he began to pour over the scriptures and, more importantly, began to live out his newfound faith in a manner of such great love for others that it was infectious. he loved everyone he came in contact with as though it was Jesus Himself. people were so inspired by him that many came to faith through him. he, while still a young man, was diagnosed with a rare, incurable disease. because of his faith, he had a confidence of his eternal future. he could have easily began to focus on heaven. he could have easily moved into an "exiting stage" by saying goodbye to family and friends. he could have easily backed off loving every stranger, every beggar, every man, woman, and child as Jesus. but he didn't. after he passed, some one picked up his bible to read it and saw what this young man had written in the very front. it's a quote i have yet to live up to but pray that i will:

No Reserves
No Retreats
No Regrets

God, i pray that i don't leave anything on the field. that i give everything i've got and more. i pray that i never back down, never give up, never give in. and i pray that i can leave knowing that i've done everything i could possibly do.

i love the scene at the end of Schindler's List when Schindler looks around at all the people he saved and began to weep because he could have saved more. "This car," he says, "this car could have saved 10 more. This ring, 2 more people. 2 more people if I had sold this ring." the man saved over 1,000 people (just think of the generational impact of that), but he is right... he could have done more. we can all do more.