LIVE FULL AND DIE EMPTY
I was in Chile the day Billy Graham died. Shortly after receiving the news, I felt the glory of God fill my room and I started to weep. It lasted well into the next morning, when the glory filled the breakfast area of our hotel—so much that I had a vision of his homecoming.
I could hear the Father welcoming His son Billy Graham home, saying “Well done, faithful servant!” I could see a multitude of people from different nations approaching him, welcoming him home. Thanking him for the way he lived his life. For finishing well. You could see the impact it had in heaven.
One of my key life verses came to me that day. In John 17:4, Jesus says that He showed His Father’s glory on earth and finished everything His Father called Him to do.
It made me think… am I living a full life every day? Am I living in such a way that when I’m finished, I can say that I accomplished everything I was put here on earth to do? The high price he paid for me is so valuable. I want to live a lifestyle of glory and release glory, showing people who my Father is by the way I live my sonship here on earth.
I also realized that there’s a lot of things God has not called us to do. There’s lots of noise and distractions in every season we’re in, pulling us away from our true purpose. But there’s a narrow path, and it isn’t always the easy way. When we’re on that path, we’re living full, and it’s worth it! Because we only have one life to live. When I stand before Him, I want to be able to say I utilized everything He gave me, left a legacy, and am fully ready to move ahead.
All of this started to burn in my spirit that day.
Using our Gifts to Finish Well
I’ve been thinking lately about the lives of a famous author and an equally famous playwright: C.S. Lewis and Oscar Wilde. Both men had very successful careers and left a legacy through their writings. But each man spoke drastically different words at the end of their lives.
Oscar Wilde is often quoted more than C.S. Lewis. In fact, he’s the most quoted playwright in the world after Shakespeare. Yet at the end of his life, he wrote about all the regrets he had; the things he wished he had done. He was not ready to see his Maker. He lived at the center of his own life, which he filled with temporary things that wouldn’t follow him into eternity.
On the other hand, C.S. Lewis told his brother at the end of his life that he was about to go home because he had finished everything God told him to do. He was living with eternity in mind. Both men had incredible gifts. But one chose truth and wisdom while the other chose happiness and pleasure. One experienced peace while the other had fear and regrets.
I thought about these men and it helped me realize the need in my own life to reorganize my priorities. I didn’t want to realize on my deathbed that there was this great potential God placed inside me that would also be buried with me.
How to Overcome Obstacles to Finishing Well
Sometimes my wife and I will walk through graveyards together and use our imaginations about what kind of lives these people lived. The last time we did this in Boston, I had tears in my eyes. I realized wow, there’s a book that was never written; a song that was never sung; a business that never started; a school system that was never created… So much potential buried with those people.
There are many reasons this happens. Sometimes we don’t go after the desires of our hearts due to shame, or fear of failure, disappointment, discouragement, things that have happened to us in the past, or a number of other obstacles. The people who accomplish great things encounter the same things—fear, disappointment, and so on—but the difference is how they respond to it. In the midst of their struggles, some people receive an upgrade where they see that failure is not final.
Most of my close friends have failed often and even failed big. I can’t be around people who only score homeruns. I don’t have anything in common with them. I need to see someone’s process if I’m going to connect with them. I want to see people who went out there and attempted a dream, gave it their all, and got back up after getting knocked down one, two, or even fifty times.
The process is not automatic. It takes movement. When you ask yourself, What do I want to be known for? You can see things in your life that won’t help you get there. Habits, friends, anxieties or concerns, jobs… We were all born with potential, but sometimes we need to change things in our life to get to where God has called you to be.
So, let’s live full so one day we can die empty. I want to see a whole generation live a lifestyle of glory and finish well. What are you called to do? Ask yourself a few questions today:
1. What are some of the things that distract you from it?
2. What are some of your passions? The fuel that makes you burn brightly without burning out?
3. What are some giants you need to overcome to get to that finish line?
4. What are those temporary treasures in your life that feel good in the moment but cause you to have regrets later?
I have faith in you. That when you get to Heaven, you will see multitudes coming up to you, thanking you for giving your life to an eternal perspective.