Recently I heard an interview with the United States Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. He shared that when a new law clerk comes to work for him, he asks them to write their obituary. Why, you might ask? He did not want them to lose focus or forget who they were and why they were there. Oddly enough, he found upon reading the obituaries that it was not fame or fortune, but family, friends, and making a difference that they wrote about. He also asked each one to keep a copy in their desk and to look at it each month in order to remind them of who they wanted to be!
Maybe you have wondered what your obituary would say about you. I have. The year 2020 will soon be history. It is a year that has felt like being on a treadmill and going nowhere! But has that really been the case? Looking back, I believe God purposely slowed us all down. We got so busy doing instead of being that God had to get our attention.
Oh, how patient and kind our God is! His pursuit of us is never ending. He desires to be the author and finisher of our faith! He wants our obituaries to be about who He is, not who we are or what we have done.
“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro; He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.” Psalms 39:4-7
So many things distract us from God – our phones, social media, computers, TV, work, family – even those in need and the church. Unfortunately, we fit God into our schedules; we make time for God when it is convenient for us.
Many of us have experienced separation from loved ones and friends this year. That longing to see family and friends is the same longing God has towards us. He desires for us to come and sit awhile in His presence to talk to Him! I love the story of Mary and Martha because it is a story of me! I see my name written all over it. Time and time again God has had to take me by the hand and cause me to sit at His feet and learn from Him.
Luke 10:38-42 puts it this way:
“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”
Lazarus, Mary, and Martha knew Jesus well! He obviously had spent time with them and had been in their home before. Jesus wanted both Mary and Martha to know that He would not always be in their lives physically. He desired to leave His living legacy on their lives. That required being in His presence literally and choosing Him first.
If I could use another metaphor, it would be that of a ship rudder. The rudder adjusts the ship in order that it stay on course, which in turn causes even distribution. This is a picture of God in my life. The rudder’s purpose is that the ship might remain upright, steady, and on course. God is our rudder. It is about a lifelong pursuit of God.
God’s obituary to us is His Word, the Bible. It is a living legacy written to us and for us. It gives direction, shows the paths of life we need to take, warns of danger, potholes, washed-out bridges, and gives us an eternal future. That living legacy, that life well-lived, that amazing obituary, is about a life in pursuit of God. It is a life invested in sitting at Jesus’ feet. It is about choosing Him as the rudder of our lives and the writer of our obituary.