Recently, I attended two funerals in the same day. I officiated one and simply attended the other. Funerals always leave a strong impact on those who attend, reminding us of our own mortality. To the casual observer the two funerals that I attended were at opposite ends of the spectrum, but the lessons they reinforced were invaluable. One was intimate and small, just family and close friends, the other was filled with dignitaries including a personal statement from the Vice President of the United States. One person had travelled the world with family and career, while the other person left Ohio and settled in Delaware. On the surface these two persons couldn’t have been more different. In reality these two persons could not have been more alike. Both of them maximized the life that they lived. Both of them lived life to their definition of the fullest. Both of them ended their lives surrounded by the people who loved them. Both of the people celebrated at the funerals I attended today made life count.
I first heard the statement “make life count” several years ago as I sat with a young man who was battling leukemia. This young man in his twenties lived by the mantra “make life count.” For him living life halfway wasn’t an option, even before he became ill. I admired the courage that I saw in him as he faced his battle with cancer. Because of him rooms filled with people getting tested to see if they were bone marrow matches for him or some other person in need. His desire to make life count became infectious to those around him. It became unfathomable for the person who knew him to simply sit and allow life to come to you, you felt the need to go and make life happen. He made life count. After I officiated his funeral I determined, even more than ever, to do the same myself.
Too often we slip into lives of complacency, lamenting what we don’t have, where we haven’t been, what we need, how we’ve been wronged, and how much better life would be if our circumstances would change. Pastors complain, parishioners complain, husbands and wives complain, employers and employees complain, students and teachers complain, constituents and politicians complain. Think of how much time we waste complaining about these things. Think of how much more value we could get out of life and add to the world if we would simply move forward to make life count. Think of the laughs we could share, the smiles that we could help generate, the hope we could inspire. Think of the children who we could impact, the families that would be transformed. Think of how the world would be changed if we would simply approach every day as an opportunity to make life count.
The one thing that each of us can be absolutely sure of is that our time is limited…finite. We all only have a certain number of days allotted to us on earth. After our time is over, we will spend an eternity elsewhere. The one thing that each of us can be absolutely sure of is that when our limited time is up no measure of complaining will lengthen it. No amount of lamentation will allow another moment of time. There will, in the end, be no take backs, no second chances. We pass this way, through life, but once. When we all awoke this morning God affirmed three things for each of us: 1) you are alive, 2) you life matters, 3) make life count.
God wants our lives to count. He created us, in his image, to make a difference in our world. We make a difference by impacting others. We impact others by loving them. We love them as we give of ourselves on their behalf. Pledge today to make life count. Hug someone, tell someone you love them, smile at someone, hold a door for someone, share a compliment with someone. Read a book to a child. Give your time to someone who needs it. Make life count. Instead of worrying, which adds nothing, give. Giving adds everything. Make life count.