The Dash

Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
In the message last week on God’s purpose for our lives, I referred to “the dash,” the hyphen on a tombstone that is used to separate the dates of one’s birth and death. That dash represents the whole of our lives, the things we do, the character we cultivate, the relationships we nurture, and our life of Christian discipleship. There is actually a poem about that by Linda Ellis, which goes like this.
The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
From the beginning…to the end

He noted that first came the date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
Know what that little line is worth

For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering this special dash
Might only last a little while

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent YOUR dash?

By God’s grace, may we all use our dash well, fulfilling God’s purposes for us.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Bob

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