Making Your Days Count

Date: February 26, 2016

Bible Text: Mark 8:36 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Mark 8:36

A generation ago there was a bit of doggerel that went, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” While that may not translate very well into another language, it translates well into the cold realities of life.

Ed and Janet Landry would have agreed when Ed was fighting for his life. Two months before he was admitted to the hospital he was training for an excursion into Nepal and noticed that it was getting harder to get his breath. “If I can’t do it at sea level,” thought Ed, “I’ll have a tough time doing it in Nepal.” Ed saw a doctor friend, and after two days of tests, he was told that he had acute myelogenous leukemia and could expect to live for only two months.

In an e-mail, he reminisced about the mid-life fork in the road that he faced in his mid-30s. At that time he had a good-paying job with perks and benefits, and the comforts of middle-class suburban living. He also had a heart for God and the desire to serve Him, but the question was when–now or when he could retire? Reflecting on that decision, here’s how Ed put it:

“My greatest joy besides being with our children at this time has been the memory of the day I left my secure job as a firefighter in San Diego and stepped out into the total unknown of Bible school and the mission field. My decision back then was to leave early and cast everything into the wind, or cautiously finish out my career and at age 55 when all was secure I could then serve the Lord without being a burden on others. The news of my leukemia has come three months before my 55th birthday. Thank you, Lord! When I first got the news that day in the office, that was what first came to mind, a sense of joy at having made the right decisions. Sure beats regret.”

Ed quit his good-paying job, went to school, then joined Action International, a missions group, to work in the Philippines. He spent many years of his life serving the Lord as a missionary. Ed trained and discipled young men and women, and helped establish a Filipino paper products business to help indigenous people to be self-sufficient.

Did he have any regrets? None whatsoever! Instead of playing it safe, he heard the voice of God calling him to do something with his remaining years and quickly made the decision to serve the Lord.

Long ago Jesus walked along the shores of Galilee and called men to serve Him–fishermen, small business men, government clerks, farmers–all ordinary people like you and me.

Question: What’s your hesitation to step out and do something for God with your life? When God confronted Moses in the desert, He asked, “What do you have in your hand?” Moses stood there, sun-bronzed, weathered, and worn. Forty years before, he had come out of Egypt. If he ever had a gold signet ring, he had long since abandoned it. “Only this rod–this shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied. “Throw it down,” God commanded, and Moses did so. It became a serpent. “Take it up again and go confront Pharaoh,” God directed. What do you have in your hand? Time, resources, and abilities–all of which are a gift from God, a stewardship, not a possession.

Ed Landry, together with his wife Janet, knew they made the right decision. He invested his life wisely, and that investment reaped a harvest in the lives of Filipinos. Think about your years, friend, and ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing now going to count for eternity?”

Resource reading: Luke 14:15-24