As a kid in middle school, my grandparents would always get a newspaper. Every week, I read the comics without fail. My personal favorite was Peanuts. Charlie Brown and Snoopy with Linus and Lucy; a wonderful cast of characters with great life lessons woven into each and every story. One particular comic had Charlie and Snoopy sitting out by a pier, I think, looking out over the water at the sunset. Charlie turned to Snoopy and said, “You know, Snoopy, one day we’re all gonna die.” Then, Snoopy turned to Charlie and replied, “Yeah, but every day between now and then we’re going to live.”
What a profound statement to consider as a Christian. Here we are, I think most of us, considering our personal issues, but we can look ahead to the end and smile, thinking, “…but in heaven…” How beautiful! How wonderful that day will be…
But what about all the other days we have to live, first?
What about all of the other lives we have to impact for the kingdom? What about –as the Lord taught us to pray– heaven being on earth today, now, not only in our lives but in the lives of others we come into contact with daily? (Mt. 6:9-15)
I love how the apostle Paul puts it when he writes to the church in Philippi. He basically says, “I don’t know which is better, to continue living, or to die?” (Phil. 1:21)
How amazing is it that Paul of all people can make that statement? I mean, here we are, 1900 years later, complaining about our lives (electric bills, having to get the oil changed in our car, our air-conditioner not working, etc…) while Paul starts by saying, ‘Hey guys, it’s me, Paul… Yeah, I’m in prison, again, but I want you to know the main reason I’m here is because of the gospel and that doesn’t really bother me because, you know, the message is really getting out there. I mean, everyone pretty much knows I’m in prison because of Jesus.’
Paul’s Option 1. He lives for God in everything that he does. Every time he encourages someone; every time he writes a letter to a church and corrects them with the hope that they will return their relationship to Christ, etc…
Paul’s Option 2. He dies and immediately goes with Jesus.
How many of us would have the same view? How often do we wake up in the morning and prepare for the day and honestly think that? You see, as Christians today we have the mind of Charlie brown. We look at the end of our lives from where we stand today and we think, ‘Man, one day all this is going to be gone. My life is going to be over.’
Instead, I think we ought to approach it like Snoopy. I think we should reflect on the work of our hands at the end of each day, or the beginning of the next day, and truly critique them. Consider what our lives would look like if we spent a few minutes each day, not a lot (maybe 5-10), and looked at our work, or the things we do each day like God did at the end of Creation.
Paul teaches us, and models for us, what it means to live and die for Christ. Win, win!
Practical Application (Living for Christ)
How would simply devoting a few minutes of our time each day affect our planning and maybe even our encouragement or correction to live the next day for Christ? Can we share our personal testimony with that waitress? Could we pray for that woman in Walmart?
Let’s find out!
For the next week, carve out a few minutes each day to reflect (Rest. Think. No distractions. No phone or television or background noise). I’m not talking about reading or prayer. Those are great! Keep that up! Amen. This is not a time to ‘make a list’ or ‘write down those honey-do’s’. What I’m suggesting is a small amount of time to simply reflect on the choices we made yesterday and to focus on the things, or work, we get the opportunity to do for Christ tomorrow. Because, let’s face it, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, friends!
Matthew 6:9-15 – The Lord’s Prayer
Philippians 1:12-26 – To live or die