Life is a symphony. Sometimes it feels like you’re being played at full gusto with every instrument engaged in a glorious refrain. Other moments sound like a measly, warbling flute solo, hanging on by a thread.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about birth and death. On the year anniversary of my aunt’s passing… we found out a friend (a beautiful young mother) just lost her battle with cancer.

This same week, several friends are due to give birth, and no less than five people have told me they are pregnant. I’m having my second baby in a matter of weeks, and today is my own birthday.

Birthing and dying. New lives are growing, and others are moving into eternity all around us. Usually we are too ensconced in the busyness of “now” that we don’t often meditate on the existence of LIFE in all its power and fragility. How different is the fiery first cry of a red-faced infant compared with a faint final breath of an expiration…

This isn’t earth-shatteringly profound… but I wanted to reflect on life with you today. I don’t know where you find yourself. Or what thoughts are swirling around your head. But life itself, in all its arrivals and departures is a vapor. We can’t hold onto it. And despite what many think, even with all the right lifestyle choices, we cannot extend it. We do not have the control, and the only thing we can ever hold onto is security in Jesus. He is the only unchanging thing that exists.

What we can control is what we DO with our time. If I’ve learned nothing else in my little life, it is that meaning comes from loving God and loving others.  There is no mystery of what happens at the end of time. Jesus tells us about it in Matthew 25:31-46.  Judgment day is summarized in two questions: Whom did you love? And how did you serve others?

While we have breath in our bodies, lover of Jesus, ask yourself where you measure in these things.

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“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [a]take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31–46)