These blogs were originally going to be introductions or “my heart” behind a new series or upcoming sermon. Instead, I’ve noticed they are happening when certain events inspire me to write. Today was one of those events. I got a text from my wife at 7:45 am that I needed to get up to the hospital immediately. One of our church members (and friend) who had been battling a terminal illness was about to lose the fight. She passed away as I was just 5 minutes from arriving. I stood in the hall with the family as they wept and clung to each other and my heart just broke.

This isn’t my first experience with this sadly to say. As a Pastor, I get a front row seat to watching families ravaged by the most heart-wrenching events life can throw at you. In my years of ministry, I’ve stood in shock with a family as a 16 year girl went “septic” and passed away after a simple tonsil surgery. I led a memorial service for a church family of four who tragically died in a plane crash while traveling to see family for Christmas. I clung to a young man and his family as he unexpectedly lost his father that morning. I stood speechless on the phone while hearing a wife tell me that her husband had just taken his own life. I just recently sat in a room with a family as they received the “official” diagnosis of advanced cancer. Today was another one for the collection of horror stories.

On my way home I felt the Lord speaking to my heart about these events that I need you to hear. Recalling all of these moments, I can’t remember one person, one family, mentioning between their tears, the accomplishments and achievements of the ones they had just lost. No one talked about their portfolios, their trophies, how they were named CEO or Homecoming Queen. No one commented on their corner office or being “salesperson” of the month or the amazing house and cars they had. None of that mattered anymore. In fact they would trade all of that for just one more day with them.

James, an author of a book in the Bible, says in James 4:14 “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  A mist… did you catch that? Here today, gone tomorrow. So my question I guess, is what are you doing during that “mist”? What are you chasing? What gets your focus, your attention? What do you pour your time, energy and passion into? Are your goals in life displayed on a pay stub or by what sits in your driveway? Are you willing to “back burner” the very people who will stand and weep in the hall over losing you? I’m not saying a desire for the finer things in life is bad, unless that desire BECOMES your life.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon describes how he had it all; houses, servants, gardens, women, extreme fame and fortune. He says there was nothing he withheld from himself. He had accomplished what everyone could only dream of. But listen to his astounding view of it all in 2:11 “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind…”. Towards the end of the book (11:8,9) he then says this “However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many. Everything to come is meaningless. You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.” 

I used to hate that stupid saying they put on everything “Live, Love, Laugh”. I thought it was corny and a lame attempt at sounding inspirational. But after this morning and recalling all of those events, I’ve had a change of heart. I think that’s what Solomon is actually saying too. My friends, I’m asking you to take a hard look at your life right now and figure out what your chasing after?  I’d hate to stand in a hall one day with your family knowing that you have “chased the wind” only to finish up empty-handed. Our friend Sandy lived, loved and laughed. Now it’s our turn.