Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Running the Race

I’ve experienced two special people leaving this world for heaven in less than a month. One had a massive heart failure and the other a rare cancer. Both had numerous people praying for healing and yet both left this life much too young. Both lived lives that influenced hundreds of people and did so with great passion for Jesus. One I knew for only a year and the other for almost two decades.

In their absence we experience loss, grief, questions, desires to speak with them, to see them, to have them experience more life with us. My thoughts flit and float between memories, desires, emotions, and questions. Emerging from all of these is a desire to be proactive in honoring them. I want to pull on the wealth of their contributions to me and live it to the fullest.

A common saying in the Church today is to make one person’s ceiling another person’s floor. To take all that is learned and gained from the life we are honoring, whether they have gone on before us or not, and use it as a launching point to go farther. If they accessed 10% of the treasures of heaven, go for 30% so that the next person can launch from 30% towards 50%. In honoring, we take our spiritual inheritance and we expand it throughout our lifetime so that the inheritance we give is greater than the one we received. This is true stewardship.

This may seem impossible when the life was lived so fully. But I think that those we are missing would want us not to set their level of maturity in Christ as our goal. Instead they would want us to believe that that has already been deposited into us by them so that we could go so much farther. Every father or mother wants their child to go beyond them, and we honor them by doing so.

The key is that we do not do so by our own strength for we will wear ourselves out in a week if not sooner. Our strength comes from the same source as their strength, and that is in Christ. We go farther by resting in Christ. We live by the strength of Christ in us, not by our flesh, but by His Spirit. We find our hope, our joy, and our peace in Christ for this is how we honor those who have gone before us.

In so doing, I want to be careful to not determine truth by experiences, but to view experiences through the lens of truth, which are the eyes of Jesus. Jesus told us we are to pray that the reality of heaven be made present upon the earth. That is the mission of the Christian life to bring heaven to earth. Thus, I want to walk in boldness to not set those experiences as a stopping point, but instead a launching pad to grab hold of those truths of heaven and pull them to earth.

In the spirit of honoring, I want to go after healing more. I don’t have the answers as to why healing doesn't happen sometimes, but I do know that in Jesus I can find the keys to the Kingdom. I will trust in the goodness of God. I will remember that for the believer, death is swallowed up in victory. I will remember the lives lived and the lessons learned, but I will not memorialize them into the past, but pull them with me into my future as I grow in Christ. Those I influence, those I lead, those I teach will be learning also from those I learned from as I honor them by continuing to move forward.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2a

This post is in honor of:

         Pastor Rob Stevenson of Acts 2 Church

         Sharon Shirrell (Remnant Ministries)