According to the Population Reference Bureau, there have been approximately 108 billion births since the beginning of humankind. That means the current living generation is 6.5 percent of all who have ever lived.
Just over 100 billion people have lived and died.
And except for the famous ones and the ones dear to us going back a generation or two, they are all gone and forgotten.
Just as we will be.
You and I won’t always be here. Neither will we be always remembered. We will each go the way of all the earth.
As Shakespeare’s Hamlet said, “Death will come when it will come.”
The if has been decided, only the when remains to be seen.
Death is the surest thing in the world, and yet most of the time we’re nearly shocked by it. Remember Jesus’ Parable of the Rich Fool?
About the guy who worked hard to store his bumper crop so he could, “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”?
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with those who store up things for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)
Nothing focuses our priorities like facing our mortality. That’s why Francis of Assisi said this:
“Keep a clear eye toward life’s end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God’s creature. What you are in his sight is what you are and nothing more. Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you have received…but only what you have given; a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage.”
It’s the brevity of our lives on earth that keeps them infused with meaning. We don’t last long here. So we must give ourselves to things that will.
Your life span doesn’t have to be the measure of your impact. Too often we spend our lives on ourselves, but don’t invest our lives in people.
It’s people who do the remembering in this world—not things or degrees, not resumes or salaries. People. Six men to carry your casket, countless others who’ll carry your memory and the message of your life.
You won’t always be here.
Make your life outlast your living.
Let your life speak and others will carry the message.
Open your life to others, invest in the next generation, exude love that moves people toward God, exert faith that takes bold steps, and be fully yourself. Or die trying.