If you had your life to live over again, what would you do differently? This was aquestion posed to a group of 50, all aged over 95. Overwhelmingly, three answers appeared, these were: I would reflect more: I would risk more and I would do more things that left a lasting impact after I die.
Isn’t it scary to think… Once you’ve died, it only takes about seventy years for your name to be forgotten. For every one who had once known you to have also died. All the people who lived before us, no one knows anything about them now, and it won’t be long until we are all one of them too!
We don’t really have that much time on earth, and it is up to us what we fill that time up with: whether it is making money; just trying to have fun; gaIning status; or whatever, we all fill our days up with something!
How many of the things that we do actually make a real difference? Does making lots of money make much of a difference, well it might mean you can buy a bigger house, or leave a few extra pounds to your children, but really, at the end of the day, it will not make you happier, or impact on other people very much at all.
Having fun may be fun, for a while, but eventually we begin to crave things that have more substance. Things that last longer than the brief period of happiness. These elderly people did not say they wished they had had more fun before they died.
Does having status make much of a difference? I don’t think so, some of the people who had the greatest influence on my life are friends, family and other people who aren’t famous, haven’t been knighted by the queen, but still left a lasting impact on me. The old women in church who faithfully pray, one who wrote me letters and sent money while I was on my year out; the youth leaders, who showed me what a true relationship with God looks like; my parents, who demonstrated what it means to really trust God; my husband, who shows me what selfless love and forgiveness look like, these are the people who have made a real impact on my life.
These are the things that make a difference, these are the things that the people, reaching the end of their time on earth, said they wished they had done more of. These are the things that are worth doing. Praying for others, encouraging others, showing them what it means to follow Jesus, helping the poor and oppressed, these are the things that leave a lasting impact after we die.
I would thoroughly recommend listening to this sermon by Tony Campolo: http://tonycampolo.org/if-i-had-to-live-it-over-again/#.VMPrlH6QGrU