AUTHOR: Philip

‘So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.’ (Psalm 90:12 KJV)

One of the joys of pastoral ministry, and indeed great privileges, is that we get to be part of the special occasions, the celebratory moments in people’s lives. The day the newborn comes, the baptisms, the wedding days, the personal success stories and everything that goes in between. There are other times, however, when the honour of serving people demands your presence when the news is not what was expected, at a hospital bed or the cold reality of the brevity of life at a graveside. Indeed, it’s this setting that brings an acute sense of perspective. Unfortunately, I’ve seen people mourn family members or former friends with whom latter years were marked by broken relationship. And so they tell me of all the things they wanted to say but didn’t. The times they wanted to reconcile but didn’t, the forgiveness they wanted to extend but didn’t, and now, the opportunity has expired.

It’s a bit like holding on to old bank notes so long, that when they have gone out of circulation you have all this currency that you can’t spend. And so we have forgiveness, love, encouragement, friendship – whatever it is – that now we can’t spend because the opportunity has passed. And so we live under a cloud because regret lives in the space of fulfilment in our hearts. We have all this spiritual and emotional currency to spend and nowhere to place it. Perhaps you look back on the qualification you missed out on, or the God given talent that lies dormant in you, the business idea, or the call of God that you think has passed you by. Whatever it is, one step can change your direction. One decision can begin to change the course of your life and realise the unfulfilled dreams in your heart. The advice today is simple: leave nothing for the next life. Don’t wonder what might have been, don’t save currency that one day you won’t be able to spend.

There’s an intriguing story in 2 Kings 13:20-21. It tells of how the Israelites tried to bury a dead man in the tomb of the prophet Elisha. So they tossed the man into a tomb, but when his body touched the bones of the prophet, he came back to life. Most people see it as Elisha’s last miracle. I wonder though, if it wasn’t a tragedy dressed as a miracle. You see Elisha had been mentored by the prophet Elijah; he had followed him for years and been his servant. When it came time for Elijah to die, Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit. And that’s exactly what Elisha got! He did twice the miracles that his predecessor did and had amazing impact. The problem I see though is that Elisha didn’t raise up a successor. He didn’t invest all his training, his anointing, all his love and encouragement in someone else. And so he died with miracles and ministry still in his bones. What a tragedy to live and have something left over that we can’t spend.

Prayerfully consider today where you need to invest your time, your affection, your energy, your personality. Life is too short to live with regret. Save nothing for the next life – live full and die empty.