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I was reading an article by Dr. Jim Denison this week memorializing actor and comedian Bob Saget.  He died ten months ago in January, and now his gravestone has been set. I remember Saget from TV as I was growing up. Always funny, he filled my nostalgia fix and I loved watching him. What intrigued me from this article, though, was his headstone bearing his full name, date of his birth and death, and this tribute: “Loving & devoted husband, father, son, uncle, brother & friend. He brought people together and made them laugh. A very great man.”  

That’s when I started wondering about my own headstone, which led me to “the dash.” I’m not talking about a dash to the store, or dash to the finish line in a race.  I’m talking about the dash between the date of my birth and date of my death. That’s the dash that’s most important in life because it determines what a person’s headstone will say. The decisions we make everyday of our lives help write our headstone tomorrow. It was Maya Angelou who said, “If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.”  

Evangelist Dwight L. Moody was right: “We are leaky vessels, and we have to keep right under the fountain all the time to keep full of Christ, and so have fresh supply.” Reverend Charles Spurgeon further elaborated: “No man can be renewed without as real and true a manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s energy as he felt at first, because the work is as great, and flesh and blood are as much in the way now as ever they were.”

On any tombstone you will see two dates – the date of birth and the date of death. Just a simple, single line that represents everything that person did from birth to death.  I don’t know how long my dash of life will be, no one really does. For some, its a quick sprint while others have a long, long journey. However long, though, I can have an impact on what my dash represents on my own tombstone to people that met me and knew me. I can show care and empathy for other people. I can be eager to smile and slower to anger. I can respect everyone and be ready to help when needed. When I die, as every one of us eventually will, that dash will mean something to all who knew me.

At the end of the dash, it won’t matter how much we owned, but how our lives point others toward Christ.   Jesus promised us: “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me” (John 15:26). And our Lord assured us: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).

How will you spend your dash?

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