Mar 21, 2017

A Century Forgotten




As I write/edit the third draft of my historical-fiction novel, Emblem of Hope, I often think of people who lived life before us.  Now only names remain; the past is forgotten.  I look at gravestones, embedded with the names of those who have already left this earth.  Names and dates... is that all that makes up a life?  Did those people have desires, hope, and fear?  Did they love someone?  Did they face trials as big as mountains?  Did they seek after their dreams, achieving the impossible?  Did they live fulfilled lives, investing in others and seeking after Christ?  Or were their years on earth full of bitterness, sorrow, and pain?

So many questions without an answer.  So many people gone forever; their stories vanished with them.  Our history books contain thousands of names and events.  (don't we know... we have to memorize them!)  But what about the common people?  Those who made a splash in history that wasn't quite "big" or "important enough" to record?  What about them?

It fills me with longing.  A desire to know.  That's what being a historical-fiction writer is.  The unanswerable questions give me a yearning to fill in the holes with my imagination, stories being spun through my fingers.

But it gives me another thought.  Something more personal.

What about me?

In one hundred years, what will people remember about me?  Will my name be lost forever like a drop of water in the ocean?  Will I be but one name on a tombstone among many others?  Will people walk past and wonder who "Hosanna" was?

But as a follower of Christ, those questions aren't relevant.  "Me" isn't important.  As John the Baptist said, 
"He must increase, but I must decrease." - John 3:30
My life shouldn't be about recognition.  It's not about promoting me.  It's about promoting Christ.  But even so, I want my life to make a difference.  Maybe no one will remember me in one hundred years.  That's okay.  I won't be here on earth anyway.  But is it wrong to want to make an impact in history?  To be part of something grand, something spectacular that allows others to see Christ?

I guess this is what I'm trying to say:  I want my life to make a difference.  I want the things I do today to matter in the light of eternity.  One hundred years from now, what will matter?   What things am I doing today that truly matter?

Here are some questions to ponder.  One hundred years from now, will it matter that...

  • I read this book?
  • I watched this movie?
  • I played this game?
  • I said these words?
  • I wrote this book (or story or poem)?
  • I participated in this activity?
  • I got a new follower?
  • I was friends with this person?
  • I had this conversation?
  • I owned this possession?
  • I bought this object?
  • I ate this meal?

The list could go on and on.  (be thankful I stopped there!)

But think about it.  Really think about it.  What things (even "productive" things) are you doing that are completely useless?  Are we truly wasting hours of our time and hundreds of our dollars on meaningless endeavors?

Was buying that object truly important?  Did spending an hour reading that book change anyone's life?  Are my conversations making a difference?

It became more personal to me after something that happened today.  I have a special bracelet that my daddy and brother bought for me while they were in Ecuador on a mission's trip more than eight years ago.  It was lovely, but today that bracelet broke.  I a long time fiddling with it, trying to fix it.  After almost an hour with no success, I got a random thought.

This is a bracelet.  It consists of a handful of beans, seeds, and string.  Is it really worth my time to fix this trivial object that is special to me?  Could simply throwing it away grant me more time that could be used in a better way?

Yes, that might be a silly example, but it's a struggle.  Little things add up.  A little money here and there can cost you more than you think.  A little time wasted can grow into a mountain of to-do's.

One hundred years from now.  One century, yet such a long time.  What things really matter?  And if something doesn't matter, why are we doing/saying/buying it?  Why am I doing it?

Let's examine our lives together.  What if one hundred years from now, the world was still seeing the ripple we made in history?  What if the history books one day record that in the 21st century something strange happened, something radical?  What if Christians actually stood up for their faith, gave God the glory, and lived for Him alone?

Let's live in such a way that one hundred years from now our lives will have made an impact.

Examine your own life; are you spending precious time, money, or energy to do something that will ultimately not matter?  How can you and I make practical changes to ensure that our lives are giving Jesus glory?  Comment below!

14 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite posts you've ever written!! It made me think deeply and it challenged me a lot. Thank you for posting this! Your questions are so good and challenging!

    ♥♥♥

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    1. I'm so thankful that you were challenged by this post, Hannah! It's something I have been thinking about for a while now... probably ever since I started reading Money, Possessions and Eternity. If it's important to spend our money in light of eternity, what about the rest of my life? My time, my possessions, my energy, my words, myself? Such a deep thought...

      How can we, as Believers, direct more of ourselves towards the eternal instead of the here-and-now? What are your thoughts, Hannah? =)

      Thank you for your lovely comment. ♥ It brightened my day!

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    2. Yes, for sure!!

      Hmmm...so hard. For me I think I've said this, but just having an overall "life evaluation". Like writing down everything I do, the people I know, and then evaluating what are my priorities are and what things are not eternal, etc. and making a plan to take things out or put things in that need to be in. It's so hard though! Do you have ways that help you?

      Aw, I'm so glad! Have a wonderful day! ♥

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    3. Evaluating your life is certainly a good way to focus on the eternal. I have found that we (or more specifically, I) often make decisions without thinking with an eternal mindset. But we don't know how many years we have here on this earth...what will truly matter once we have left our earthly bodies behind?

      I agree...evaluating your life and re-focusing your gaze is helpful. I think that also includes continual reflection through reading the Bible and prayer. If we know God in a personal sense, it will not be difficult to have lives that revolve around Him. Maybe the problem goes back to the fact that we often "saber" Christ instead of "conocer"...if we knew Who He is we would realize that nothing on this earth compares to His glory. ♥

      Thank you for your encouragement. =)

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  2. OH ME I loved this post, girl!!!! <333
    I realllllly want to make a difference and impact this world for Jesus, so this touched my heart!! Thank you, you awesome person! (and hey, btw, don't you DARE think you didn't make a difference in my life...I have to say, you one of THE CLOSEST friends I have over blogosphere---not even kidding. You're da bestest. *huggles*)
    Man, though I strive to do what is going to matter to God, I can find myself playing board games for hours over the weekend instead of spending my time doing the Lord's work. Not like playing board games is bad, but there are certain things that need to be done in moderation. God needs to have first place in our lives!
    I think the change that I am going to make this week is asking myself, like you said, when I do anything "Is this truly important in light of eternity?" And if I focus on what truly matters, it's gonna be worth it. 1 Cor. 15:58 does say, "Nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted." Our life isn't going to last as long as eternity--this is a one-shot deal, and we've got to milk it for all it's worth.
    LOOOOOVED this post, sweet friend! (oh, and guess what? We'll know for sure on April 3rd...but according to the ultrasound Mom got, we think we're having a boy!!!! I've got a bunch o' sisters, and they're the bomb, but I've got only one brother, and it'd be awesome if we had another!! =))
    -Ariel

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    1. Ariel!! *huggles back* Thank you for your sweet words...you are definitely one of my closest friends on the blogosphere as well!! ♥ Your comments always make me smile. =)

      I'm so, so glad that you have this on your heart as well! We can make a difference in the world together, my friend. =) I can relate to your struggle...having fun is definitely not bad, but there is a limit. People can be too serious and boring at times, I believe. (think of the modern view of the Puritans...boring, monotone people who dress in stark grey clothes. Lol) But you can also go the other way and spend your time in worthless, fun pursuits. There's a delicate balance. Like you said, God and His work needs to be first in our life. Even so, I think it's good for us to have fun with friends and family as well - like playing board games. How do you think we can balance these differences without edging too much to one side? How can we be happy, enjoy life, and still make a difference in the world?

      Yess! You summarized it up perfectly. It reminds me of what C.T. Studd said, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” ♥ But this brings up another problem...what about the things we need to do that aren't important in the light of eternity? School for instance. School (most of the time) doesn't impact someone's life. Yes, it is important to learn and grow, and doing school is a way to honor your parents. But as I spend hours and hours on it...I always wonder if it's truly the best way to spend my time. What do you think, Ariel?

      ♥ YAYYY! That is AMAZING!!! I'm so happy for you, girly! You're having a brother!!!! *celebrates* I'm so very excited for you...thank you for sharing all this baby news. I LOVE it. =)

      Love you, Ariel!!! I love all my sisters in Christ, but you're extra special. ♥

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    2. AWK did you know you are one of the bestest people everrr?! Glad to bring a smile to your face!!!
      Oh yeah--we're in this together, girl. *fist bump* I know, it is a dilemma. I mean, Jesus was fun-loving and most definitely not boring! But He also had His priorities straight. I think a good way to make sure that we are keeping ourselves in balance is this--we should make sure that our 'rest' times are just as mission-based as our 'work' times, if you know what I'm saying. Everywhere Jesus went He had a mission. He attended social events, but He was on a mission then just as much as He was spending whole nights in prayer. I think we should also make sure we are not having fun at the risk of compromising. For example, if playing board games, hanging out with friends, etc. is taking over our time with God, then something needs changing. Definitely something to think about! How are you always so though-provoking?! <3
      I KNOWWWW THIS SPEAKS RIGHT TO MY HEART. I've been teetering and tottering on both extremes during freshman year (yup, still learning the ropes! =)) but what I've been doing lately is having five minutes of prayer each hour--not that I succeed in doing it every hour, though. =) It helps keep my focus on God, and gives me little breaks in school to spend time with Him.
      THANK YOU!!! <333 We're finding out in six days...I CAN'T STAND WAITING ANY LONGERRRRRRRR! Thanks for being another friend to squeal about the baby with!! <3 IT'S JUST SO STINKIN' FUN. =)
      Love you tooooo! <333
      -Ariel

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    3. Ariel, that is SO true! I discussed that topic with a friend several weeks past. We naturally think that we deserve "rest" time with a book or our face in a screen. We cuddle up with blankets and hide from the world saying that we just need "me" time. I understand that we fall short of Jesus' power...but I didn't see Him having "me" time. As you said, He had a mission everywhere He went. Jesus attended a wedding...and made a difference there. What if our relaxing time was spent building relationships (with others and Jesus) or in other worthwhile pursuits...wouldn't our lives make a much larger difference then?!

      I LOVE that idea, Ariel!! Taking time aside every hour to pray... even if just for a handful of minutes. I tried that and was pretty good at it...until recently when it kinda slacked off. Thank you for the reminder of what's most important. ♥

      So??? It's been six days, hasn't it?? =) Don't make me wait, girl! I love your baby already. ♥ And I love the encouragement and focus you always bring to my heart. *hugs*

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  3. I've been thinking lately about ways to counter the urge to promote my own name. BUT I think it's a noble thought (and thank you, Hosanna, for sharing it) to want to be part of a 21st century movement that history books will one day record - a movement that is not recognized as Jordy Leigh's movement but as the work and movement of the great God of the Bible - a movement that involves hearts and souls and the coming of His Kingdom on earth. If my name were ever to be included in such a textbook, I would just hope that God would give me the grace not to become conceited, and others the grace to understand that His is the Name that counts.

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    1. That’s a hard struggle, Jordy, and one that I have spent a lot of thought on as well. As writers, we are supposed to promote our name, right? I've had a hard time justifying that thought. Aren’t we supposed to be promoting Christ’s Name, not our own? One author said that one of the hardest aspects of getting published at a young age is dealing with pride. How true! I want my books to be read, to make an eternal difference...but I'm sure that the pride that would undoubtedly follow would be hard to fight against.

      I'm reading in Philippians where Paul lists his accomplishments and then throws them away saying that he counts them as loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ. If only that could be my heart, my desire. May we be able to say, "He must increase, but I must decrease."

      Thank you for sharing your heart, Jordy! I'm so thankful that we can be mutual encouragement to each other as we strive to be part of a movement that is sharing the Love of Christ to the world around us. ♥

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    2. Oh Hosanna! What perfectly appropriate Scriptures! Yes, may we count all our accomplishments loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ!

      I think of a song:

      All I once held dear, built my life upon,
      all this world reveres and wars to own,
      all I once thought gain I have counted loss,
      spent and worthless now compared to this:

      Knowing you Jesus. Knowing you...

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    3. Jordy, that song is so beautiful. Reading it gave me chills.

      "Knowing You Jesus. Knowing You..."

      That's all that matters. ♥

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  4. Lovely post, Hosanna. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Emily!! ♥ I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      Lol...I was confused about who you were for a few minutes... ;) What a beautiful name though..Emily Autumn. And I like your profile picture! =)

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