I have been asking myself the question, “What really matters?” a lot lately.
We live in a broken world that spends so much time squandering our inheritance on things that the wind blows away.
But every so often God, in his incredible kindness and grace, stops us in our tracks through our encounters with dire personal circumstances, and all that other “stuff” finds its proper place and we are faced with the real questions of What Really Matters?
So here are a few of my circumstances that have stirred up this question – a glimpse into my past few weeks.
I participated in the funeral of a young man (just turned 19) who passed away in his sleep very unexpectedly.
The grief for this family runs deep. We don’t have to ponder this to deeply to know why. It is often said during times like these that no parent or grandparent ever expects to bury their own children.
There was pain in this young man’s life (I am intentionally not giving identities for obvious reasons). Over the past number of years he started experimenting with drugs to help him numb the pain brought on by the sum of his life experiences so far.
“Numb the pain,” How often have I heard that refrain. The people in this family are friends of mine. More pain.
Now this death wasn’t directly caused by drugs, but the circumstances of life had taken their toll on a lad who left us far too soon.
I, along with many other pastors in this community, have officiated at too many funerals in this town involving young people – our kids; your kids – whose lives were cut short due to the direct or indirect influence of alcohol or drugs. So many of these deaths have been needless … avoidable.
What really matters?
Every time I walk away from a funeral like this, my wife and I talk about how we need to be intentional to keep all things in their proper perspective.
I have four sons – one who just graduated. This has hit close to my heart.
At funerals, we give tribute to loved ones who are no longer able to hear our kind words. This is an honourable – and important – exercise in our grieving process. But how tragic that we often don’t spend more time paying that same public respect to those we love while they are alive and able to hear and experience our love and honour.
This past Father’s Day I asked both my dad and my father-in-law to come up front in church and to have a seat beside me while I gave them public tribute.
Maybe I should have warned them ahead of time what I was going to do, but then they would have gotten all nervous – or maybe not even have come to church that Sunday! They were definitely surprised (you should have seen their faces when I called them up!), but they were also very impacted – and honoured.
What really matters?
The Bible says that “God sets the lonely in families…”
It’s part of His design to bless us with these rich relationships. Cherish those you love. Let them know how much they mean to you. Today. What is holding you back? It does matter.
Duane Goerzen is pastor at MR Community Church.