Friday, 6 December 2013

Don't Waste Your Life

A history-maker has taken his last breath.  His legacy is enormous.  Described as a 'fighter', even in his last few days, Nelson Mandela never gave up and preached a gospel of reconciliation and forgiveness, despite the fact that he, more than any of us, would have a reason for revenge.

One life, unwasted. 
One life, passionately surrendered to all he stood for. 
One life, focused.

What if all of us were to live like this? 

Waking up to the news of Nelson Mandela's death this morning, I remembered these verses I'd read just a few days ago in my Bible:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings."
What if we all lived like this? 
We have a fleeting life.  Here one minute, gone the next.  I don't want to waste mine.  I don't want to go from one day to the next, having never changed history. 
We can't all be prominent and influential, but most world-changers start with the small.  Can we share our food with the hungry?  Can we make a stand for those who can't do it for themselves?  Can we give clothes to those who need them?  Can we fight against injustice, even in small way?  Can we work together instead of pointing the finger at each other?  Can we help to rebuild people's lives, damaged by war, abuse, poverty or injustice?  Can we love the unlovely?  Can we teach our children to put others before themselves so that the next generation continues the fight?
Nelson Mandela was just a man.  A courageous one, but still just a human being, fighting for what he believed in.  We can too.  We're no different. 
Don't waste your life.  Make it count.

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