by Dusty White

It seems like there have been a lot of funerals at my church lately. People are always passing away—into Heaven or Hell. This past Friday afternoon I slid into a funeral service for a gentleman that had suffered from a severe heart attack a week ago. If there is such a thing, it was “an upbeat funeral” because He lived his life in a godly way. Two Thursdays ago I was in a meeting with some other pastors and teachers and around the circle it went…people sharing about people that they know dying or battling with cancer, disease, or freak accidents. Just two nights ago my wife and I received a phone call from a friend informing us of another friend that had been in a major car accident.

These things are all around me. They are all around you. It is life and death around this earthly world. I guess that is why the Apostle Paul says in his letter to the church at Ephesus, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15).”

Last week I spent a few days with high school teenagers at a camp. Teenagers have a lot of energy as it is. Throw “camp” into the mix, and… They jump around a lot and they talk with a lot of energy and they don’t sleep much. It is a very interesting stage of life.

Today I went and saw Elisa. Elisa is my new Scripture reading friend. She is suffering from stomach cancer and is the dear mother and grandmother of some friends of ours. Elisa and I don’t spend a lot of time together, maybe an hour a week if you total up all the times that I visit her. But the time spent is precious and has a rare feeling to it. It is always sincere. She is suffering severely from this cancer that has swept through her body. Today she told me that she is losing strength in her eyesight and she complained between breaths of some strong back pains. Due to her fatigue my visit at her bedside was about 20 minutes.

One minute I’m talking to over-energized, sugar-hyped teenagers that are on a camp high, and the next I’m listening real closely to Elisa’s struggling and soft voice. Between these two different moments I played trucks with my son and held my daughter in my arms because she can’t even walk yet. I’m telling you folks—life on Earth, by God’s design, is a very complex and interesting thing.

For me, it puts a serious twist on Ephesians 5:15. Do I really make the most of my opportunities? Do you? I mean really, some of the things that surround me have nothing to do with God and His fame on this Earth that is plagued with the fall.

These recent happenings make me think of Psalm 119:128, “and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.

I want to develop a healthy hate for all of the things that have nothing to do with God and his glory. I want to make the most of my opportunities. I don’t have time for any wrong paths or side-tracked energy. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Funerals, car accidents, cancer, and heart attacks have a good track-record around here.

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