I remember a few years ago standing on my own in the church where my great grandmother used to attend. It is only a very small rural church out in the paddocks, a very old stone building where people have worshipped for over 1000 years, just mindblowing to think about that length of time. Afterwards I went outside and looked at the grave stones in the churchyard, memorials of former members of that congregation in the preceding centuries, their lives over in only 40, 50 even 90 years and now all dead and gone.
This experience made me think about time, what did those people do with their time, that between birth and death. So short a time, nowhere near as long even as the 1000 year old church building they would have entered each week. The Bible has some things to cause us to reflect on our time on this earth e.g. Psalm 103:15,16
“As for man His days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind goes over it and it is gone and its place remembers it no more.”
or James 4:14
“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
These verses remind us that our life is just a blip in the sweep of eternity, so we should be careful to use our lives well. How are we using ours? A welsh poet by the name of William Henry Davies who lived between 1871 to 1940 wrote a poem called “Leisure” which asks a question—”What is this life if Full of Care, we have not Time to stand and stare?” Are we so consumed with the cares of ’Life’ that we actually miss it, its potential and purpose? We are already more than half way through 2012, what have we done with our time this year? Jesus told a well known story in which he taught that being consumed by the ‘cares of life’ is death to spiritual growth and fruitfulness and therefore also to our purpose. (Mark 4:7,18,19).
Is it true that we fill our lives up with so much activity, ours or our children’s, that we have no time to ‘stand and stare’, to focus on this small piece of the great sweep of the canvas of time that God has given us, and the picture he wants us to paint on it? Are we so busy with ‘Life’ that we ultimately miss what life is for?
If we keep on missing God’s reason for our life we will wake up one day and find that it is gone, then what will our epitaph be? “This man/woman led a busy life—and missed it”
Christians should be people who do stop in the race, who do get off the whirling carousel and stare—stare at the glorious creation around us that points to the God who has saved us, and then to reflect on why are we here, what is God calling us to. Then our epitaph might be “This man/woman stopped their life and stared and focused on his/her God, and they didn’t miss it!”
Is it time for us perhaps to stop the race and make time to “Stand and Stare”?