The world was riveted this week by the story of a young actress whose life was cut short by a tragic drowning accident. What was expected to be a beautiful day swimming with her young son on a scenic lake in California sadly turned out to be her last day on earth. And she has become yet another somber reminder of how very fragile life is.
I’m not sure exactly what drew me to follow this story. I had not heard of this actress prior to reading the news headlines, but something about her four-year-old son found alone in the pontoon boat cut to the heart. Beyond that, I’m sobered by the thought of how suddenly life can come to an end—even for those that seem to have all the beauty, fame, talent and riches the world so desires.
One of her final tweets, dated days before the accident, read: “No matter the year, circumstance, or strifes [every day] you’re alive is a blessing. Make the most of today and every day you are given. Tomorrow is not promised.”
Years prior, she sang a song titled “If I Die Young.” The lyrics speak of “the sharp knife of a short life.” How prophetic these words have become.
Yet I would venture to say that there’s a knife which cuts sharper than that of a short life.
The philosopher Socrates was quoted to say, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” I would call this, “the sharp knife of an unexamined life.”
A life gone too soon is most certainly tragic. But a short life lived fully, with purpose and eternity in mind, is not as tragic as a long life lived without meaning or thought.
We are created for a purpose. We’re here to accomplish something only we can accomplish, for the benefit of our generation and generations to come. And God has offered the hope of eternity though the death and resurrection of his son Jesus to all who would accept this invitation.
To live without knowledge of our creator’s wonderful plan for our lives—and to live without eternity in view, is both futile and foolish.
I know nothing of the life and legacy of the actress who so suddenly lost her life. But I do know many Hollywood icons tend to live their lives for what is fleeting: the accolades of men, the transience of beauty, the lure of material gain. And most give their souls to preaching false gospels so they can earn these momentary rewards that will only fade with time.
Examining my own life, I know I don’t want to live chasing the wind. I don’t want my legacy to be something only of temporal, earthly value. I want it to last beyond eternity.
There is a life that is truly life, which can only be found in relationship with the author of our lives. He has shown us that following his design for life leads to abundant life. And he’s created us to leave a legacy that will outlast our lives on earth. And more important, for those who believe, for those who would receive his gift, he has promised an eternity where there is “no more death, mourning, crying or pain.”
Our life and its outcome is well worth the investment of examining ourselves, of searching to see if we are truly living “a life worth living.”
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Photo Credit: Sunrise at Lake Piru by Jeff Turner, labeled free to use or share on flickr.com
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