My Day Started With a Funeral

One of my college professors died this weekend, and honestly I don’t think it actually sunk in until I was sitting at his funeral. This is a man who I never really knew particularly well, but was still extremely influential in my life. Amazing how that works isn’t it? I hadn’t seen him in probably six or seven years, but I still practice things that he taught me on a daily basis. So, I was sitting there at the back of the church in blue jeans and a dress shirt because I wasn’t particularly close to the family, and it hadn’t occurred to me that people would be wearing suits and ties until I’d walked into the building and seen them wearing suits and ties. Honestly, I doubt the dead man would have remember my name even if I’d seen him a few days before he died. So, I sat there in my completely inappropriate clothing wondering who might be sitting at the back of my funeral wearing inappropriate clothing? Who have I influenced without ever realizing it, and who’s life have I changed, even though I don’t remember who they are?

We all influence people on a daily basis. In 1 Peter 2:11-12 the apostle exhorts his audience to live righteously so that those who would malign them will see the truth of their virtue in their daily lives. Paul does the same thing in Titus. It might be one of my students, or someone at church, or a person whom I met at a local coffee shop. It might be someone to whom I’ve taught martial arts, or a neighbor, or someone I ran into at the mall. Regardless, there are people to whom my life matters that I will never know about, and I have to wonder how I’ve influenced them. Have I spurred them towards righteousness? Driven them away from the faith? Made them give up on a dream? Or pulled them back into reality? I wonder what kind of role model I’ve been, because I can see how this man influenced me.

Of course, if I spend all of my time trying to be a strong role model to whom others should look in awe, then I invite pride, hypocrisy, and deceit into my life. The man who died wasn’t a perfect man. He wasn’t even close to it, and he didn’t hide his flaws, but he was also humble, forthright, and consistently inspired me towards Christ. He was a navy man, and I remember something he told me about serving in Korea. He told me that it was always easy to tell who the Christians were on the ship. When the shop docked at post most of the crew went into town to get drunk and visit prostitutes. The Christians were the ones who came back and felt horrible about it. He pointed out to me that the mark of a Christian is not that he is morally perfect, but that he is convicted of his sin, and that he seeks repentance.

I have often heard the argument that repentance is a turning away from sin. That a part of repentance is to not do the same thing again, and this is true to a degree. Christ did tell the adulterous to go and sin no more (assuming that this story is a part of the original text), and he does hold us to a higher calling. However, he also offers us grace. There is a difference between repeated sin and willful sin. I may stumble in the same fashion many times, but this doesn’t mean that I have chosen to live in that sin. However, this is a difference of the heart that only God can judge. I can’t look at someone else’s struggle with a particular sin and judge whether he truly repents and stumbles again, or whether he’s simply stopped caring about that particular sin. I can point out to him that it is something he needs to avoid. I do everything in my power to help him to avoid it, and I may gain some insight into his motives. However, I can’t truly know his heart.

So, I think, using this professor as a model once again, that the best way to be a role model is to pursue Christ with everything that I have. To put him first and do everything in my power to live my life for him. I try to do this, and I hope that I succeed. I hope that I am a good influence on the people around me, and that I stand out as a Christian truly pursuing the father, and as a man of virtue. Maybe when I die I’ll find out if I did.

P.S. I’ve had more posts than followers for a while now :). It makes me feel like I’m winning.

The Pursuit of Life

One of my bible professors died a couple of days ago. It wasn’t unexpected in any way, but it’s still surprising. That’s probably a little bit difficult to explain. I think that we are always surprised when someone dies. I remember my grandfather dying. He spent several years dying, and we all knew that it could happen at any moment, but it still came as a surprise when it did. Compare this to my Grandmother, who had relatively few health problems, but quite suddenly died of a stroke, or my friend Robin who was quite a bit younger than I am, but died quite suddenly in a car accident earlier this year, and it really seems like my grandfather’s passing should have been much less painful. It was expected, we were even kind of waiting for it, but when he finally died I still couldn’t believe it anymore that I could when Robin died. I think that death, even when it’s expected, always comes as a surprise.

The man who died was a truly amazing man. He provided the foundation for everything else that I’ve learned and understood. More than anyone else, excepting God of course, this man taught me what it meant to grow in my knowledge of the Lord, and that is something that I will never forget. I’m hoping to be able to attend his funeral service this week, and I don’t really see any reason why I wouldn’t be able to go, unless I simply forget about it, which is entirely possible I suppose.

At the moment things are going fairly well for me. Yesterday was a wonderful day, even though I only got a couple hours of sleep on Saturday night, and I was able to thoroughly enjoy every part of it. I had the chance to tell my young friend at church how proud I am of her, and what an honor it has been to watch her grow into the young woman that she’s become. She seemed very happy to hear that. I got to have lunch with some wonderful friends, new and old, and I got to enjoy my afternoon with very little work to do. I also got to spend a very sweet hour with the Lord before the evening service.

I’m hoping that today goes as well, and it’s off to a fairly good start. There is a woman on eHarmony that seems fairly interested in me, though we’re still just beginning to get to know one another. I suppose that we’ll find out what will happen with that when it happens. There’s also a young lady who’s been coming to my church that I find myself somewhat interested in. However, I rather doubt that she would return my interest. I was interested in her once before, a couple of years ago, when I was in a very bad place, and I handled it very poorly. 

There is no way to know what will come in life. However, we can be sure that neither the good times, nor the bad times, will last forever. Much like the endless revolutions of the Earth create night and day, our lives revolve through a cycle of events that bring both wonders and horrors. However, we must seek God’s hand in all of them and pursue him.