I lost a good friend this week. Chuck was someone I knew from my Oregon connections. We first met when he came reluctantly to church but we grew in our friendship over the years. I remember sitting in my VW bus at a men's retreat discussing what a relationship with Christ really meant. A few years later when were without a senior pastor, God touched Chuck's life and he decided to get serious about his Christian life. He has never been the same since. After we left Oregon, Chuck transferred to another church and continued to serve in a variety of ways. I always enjoyed my conversations with Chuck. He was a no nonsense guy when it came to church and his expression of Christianity. I will miss him.
My situation has been a reminder also of how much I have taken eternity for granted. My dad lived to almost 95, therefore I have lots of time left. We even try to avoid the harsh reality at funerals. "Doesn't he or she look nice?" We should be glad for the work of funeral directors. Please, no open casket for me and just a plain wooden box, please." Post pictures instead of looking at my made-up body. I wish I could send back a picture from heaven. Wouldn't this startle us ... actually I would hope it would encourage us. If my comments sober you, they are not designed to be somber but realistic. I think we should live as if every day could be our last day, not in panic but with our mind clearly focused on eternal values and the hope that only God can provide.
And one final thing: Keep short accounts. I have mentioned that I have been listening a lot to Dr. Ken Boa. He has a great suggestion on how to say goodbye. Tell them that you love them. Tell them how you appreciate them. Resolve any unresolved issues. That sounds like something we should be doing before we have to say goodbye. Keeping eternity fresh in our mind should keep our relationships fresh. What do you think?