Friday, August 3, 2007

the mourning after

How many times did I travel the I35 bridge over the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul? The recent collapse and personal stories that rise from the wreckage made me think of two things as I read this morning's paper. First, families are experiencing the mourning of unexpected loss. None of us know when the bridge will break beneath us and life will come to a sudden end. Carpe diem.

Second, I imagine the mourning of unfulfilled mission. This is the unfortunate effect of the first cause for many people. Thinking that tomorrow will surely yield another opportunity, they put off doing the thing they were made to do today. Carpe manana.

Consider my friend that I recently heard from. He and I met over scrambled eggs and coffee more than a year ago. He's a top-notch businessman, strategic thinker and passionate follower of Jesus. But, he had not been able to unscramble his life mission. I just received word that he and his wife have taken a position as camp managers of a Young Life camp in New York state. Why? Because he knows that this is what he was made for. He is leaving cash, comfort and community behind to live life on purpose. Carpe diem.

I have one life to live. Only one. Bookended between arrival and departure, I have time on loan to do what I was created to do. It's not like a shovel that I have borrowed from a neighbor or a video that I have rented for the weekend and is due back in two days. Life is a finite amount of precious time that must be seized deliberately, passionately, fully.

In John 17:4, Jesus said, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do." And, on the cross, He said, "It is finished." That's different from the words many others might ask: "Is it finished?" I want to worship God by living on purpose. Carpe diem. Soli Deo Gloria!

8 comments:

Jungle Pop said...

I am encouraged, though, that God's mission is never unfulfilled.

It's tough to know how to balance that truth - God will still accomplish his purposes, but he may have wanted US to be a part of that. If we fail, he'll find someone else.

The best I can do is seek to walk with him, abide with him, and let his presence radiate from me. If I can do that, I will be "successful," no matter what job I have.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

Rusty said...

You know it's only when things like this happen in order for people to realize what you write about here. 9/11 and huricane Katrina are all examples of amazing wake up calls.

I know personally it makes me stop and think, what if that happend to me? How often do we sit idle and not do the things that we are called to do. What's it going to take to make us sieze the day?

Thanks for the post.

David Daniels said...

Exactly, Rusty! Sometimes, life shines most brightly next to the darkness of death. May God give me an ever-present urgency to make the most of every moment!

Anonymous said...

One of my unfulfilled missions: passing on what God has taught me, sometimes painfully, to my son. A tool that's helping me...and just might be worth a look...is "The Young Man in the Mirror," by Patrick Morley.

When the winds blow and the storms come, I'm thankful for all of God's promises. I'm also grateful for men who've spent time thinking and writing of such. I'm reading Philip Yancey's "Prayer." And if you haven't been down this road, I know you're one who will listen to an encouragement to read "The Pilgrim's Progress" -- a timeless beauty by John Bunyan.

Drapper of MD

Michael said...

The service for Chris today brought me to this place that just overwhelmed all my earthly emotional controls...why did I get to survive cancer? How come someone so young and depended upon can be taken so early? I looked up Psalm 16 as you had referenced, it was a psalm that I was led to after my visit to the burn unit last year...yet another saving grace...the question is hard on my heart right now to seek His counsel Ps. 16:7. Am I making the most of every day??? I don't think so...but how do you ever know...with my human mind I feel I will always doubt. Trust in Him and He will reassure?

Anonymous said...

You may also be interested in John Piper's thoughts on the collapse of the bridge:

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2007/2278_Putting_My_Daughter_to_Bed_Two_Hours_After_the_Bridge_Collapsed/

Kelly in MN said...

What a perfect title to the atmosphere around Minneapolis this past week. It's surreal. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers. When calamity happens, especially this close to home, I can't help but wonder why I wasn't involved. Obviously there is relief that we are unharmed physically, but it's also a bit unsettling to me... some underlying fear that something worse is in store for us. I sure held my children closer that night and prayed a little harder for our safety. I guess that's the best I can do, right? Send those fears right up to Him who calms the storm.
P.S.- thanks for including me on your blog!

Dave and Christy said...

Thanks for the encouraging words as we sometimes, in the heat of battle, forget why we are doing what we're doing!