(This “Application“ column goes with the Bible lesson for May 10, 2020: “His Treasured Possession.”)
By David Faust
At age 86, Jackie Long died from injuries sustained in a car accident—an abrupt end to a fruitful life. Jackie worked tirelessly on our church staff for four decades, and then after retiring in her sixties, she continued to serve cheerfully as a volunteer for another 20 years. She welcomed guests, cared for those in need, coordinated countless weddings and funerals, took meals to shut-ins, ministered with senior adults, and volunteered with benevolence agencies in our city.
Hundreds gathered at the funeral to honor Jackie’s life and faith. I reminded the crowd about Lazarus’s sister Martha, who expressed annoyance because she had to take care of all the cooking and household preparations, while her sister, Mary, sat listening quietly to the Lord. Jesus insisted, “Mary has chosen what is better” (Luke 10:42), but whenever I read that story, part of me sympathizes with Martha. Clearly Mary made the better choice, but somebody had to feed all those hungry disciples!
What if a person could emulate the best of both Mary and Martha? What if, like Martha, she took care of all the practical details, and at the same time, like Mary, she recognized the importance of sitting reverently at Jesus’ feet and learning from him? “That was Jackie Long,” I told the crowd at the funeral. “She was like Mary, and she was like Martha.”
Jackie’s funeral service lasted about an hour—a short time to summarize such a long, eventful life. While driving back from the cemetery, I pondered how a one-hour service simply wasn’t long enough to do justice to Jackie’s lifetime of faithful service. But then, isn’t that the way it is with all funeral services? When you think about the significance of a person’s lifetime, even the most elaborate funeral is never fully adequate.
Nothing in this life lasts quite long enough.
- A bride and groom spend months preparing for their wedding day, only to discover the ceremony takes only a few minutes, the honeymoon is quickly over, and the realities of married life soon settle in.
- Recent college graduates, weary of the demands of school, soon realize all of the classes they completed and all of the books they read weren’t enough to fully prepare them for all the real-life challenges they will face in the workplace.
- A happily married couple discovers that even 50 years together isn’t long enough. It causes deep grief when a beloved spouse dies.
- A worker builds a successful career and amasses enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Yet, as the ancient philosopher observed, “a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune” (Ecclesiastes 2:21).
Let’s face it: Life on this earth always leaves us a bit unsatisfied. C. S. Lewis wisely observed, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Here on earth we never have quite enough time. That’s why we need to store up our treasures in Heaven. There alone we will find lasting fulfillment. As God’s treasured possession, we will serve the Lord without limitation and enjoy him forever in a world without end.
Personal Challenge: In your journal or on a sheet of paper, write down what being “made for another world” means to you on an everyday basis. How will remembering that change the way you live and love today and tomorrow?