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!