Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 25:21, The parable of the talents, Jesus’ parables, cremation, funeral service, thanksgiving service, celebration of life, death of a friend, social worker, helping the down and out, putting’

I wonder how you view your life—what you are here on this earth to do or to be. It’s an important question, don’t you think? So often, we forge on from week to week, rushing here and there, doing our best just to stay afloat in the midst of our busy schedules. And, in the process, we can so easily forget the bigger picture. Where are we heading? Where does God fit in the scheme of things for us? What is the purpose of it all?

Last week, I was given plenty of opportunity to reflect on these questions, when my husband and I attended the private cremation of a good friend, Vaughan Bowie, and also his thanksgiving service. Now Vaughan had done much in his life. He had such a heart for people, but especially for those on the edge of society, those needing a helping hand in some way, those suffering violence and injustice. He listened to them, spent time reaching out to them, including them in his life. Despite his own personal struggles, he cared for others in very practical ways. And he did it all, not only because these were good things to do, but also because he loved God and wanted to show that same love to others. He cared about their life here and now. But he also cared about their eternal destiny.

Vaughan Bowie

Vaughan Bowie

I watched with sadness during the final committal prayer at the crematorium, as an opaque curtain began to close, partially hiding our friend’s coffin from view. I could still see the special photo of him that had been placed on the coffin—one in which he was smiling, eyes alight with joy. Yes, this was our friend who often used to come to our door to walk with my husband but who was always ready to chat with me too and ask how my writing was going. Then, moments later in that chapel, a heavier curtain obscured his photo completely—a final, gentle reminder that Vaughan was indeed gone from us.

At that point, I saw my own life in much clearer perspective. Our friend had touched so many during his time on this earth, accepting them, loving them and endeavouring to give them hope and encouragement. What had I done with the years I had been given? Was I now living in a way that showed love and care for others and brought glory to God? Or was I becoming weighed down with the little things of life that don’t really matter in the long run?

I look down now at the front page of the order of service from Vaughan’s thanksgiving service. On it are quoted Jesus’ own words from the parable of the talents:

Well done, good and faithful servant! … Enter into the joy of your master. Matthew 25:21

I’m sure our friend has heard those words again from Jesus, as he was welcomed into heaven. And I know I want to hear them too when my journey on this earth is over. In the meantime, however, like our friend, I want to live a life that blesses others, that makes a difference in this world and that also bears fruit for eternity.

How about you?  Is that your perspective in life too?

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