Perhaps this is an aside, or maybe even the fruit of reflecting on the first several verses of James 5, but yesterday on the radio I heard a guy talking about how we should live our lives. He was saying that at the end of our lives, we should have a peace that we did all that we could and that we should die feeling good about ourselves with how we lived. It was a Christian radio station. But that belief somehow just did not resonate with my spirit. If felt like it was…well…selfish. Can you imagine Jesus on the cross taking his last breaths saying, “well, I feel good about myself and so now I can die in peace”? I can’t. Even outside the physical pain, I don’t think Jesus was thinking about how he had lived a fulfilling life on earth. It just doesn’t resonate.
At the end of my emails I have an Indian proverb that I like: “All that is not given is lost.” Add to that I’ve been reviewing James 5 lately where it says “weep and wail…you have hoarded wealth in the last days…you have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.” And then there’s the life of Jesus and how he lives. And so when I think of life and death and I think of Jesus and I think of these Scriptures, I reflect on what is the measure of our life? And for today, I have to believe that the measure of our life is in how much of it we have given away. When we are living this way, as Jesus did, we won’t be thinking of ourselves at the end, but rather even in our dying, wondering what more can be given to those in need?
Consider Jesus in his dying:
Giving a grieving mother a new son,
Giving forgiveness to those who didn’t understand
Giving salvation to a thief who knew his guilt
Giving God his spirit
“All that is not given is lost.”