An excerpt from best selling author Max Lucado’s latest book ‘Outlive Your Life‘.
You’ve been given an honest-to-goodness human life.
You’ve been given your life. No one else has your version. You’ll never bump into yourself on the sidewalk. You’ll never meet anyone who has your exact blend of lineage, loves, and longings. Your life will never be lived by anyone else. You’re not a jacket in an attic that can be recycled after you are gone.
And who pressed the accelerator? As soon as one day is lived, voila, here comes another. The past has passed, and the good old days are exactly that: old days, the stuff of rear view mirrors and scrapbooks. Life is racing by, and if we aren’t careful, you and I will look up, and our shot at it will have passed us by.
Some people don’t bother with such thoughts. They grind through their days without lifting their eyes to look. They live and die and never ask why.
But you aren’t numbered among them, or you wouldn’t be holding a book entitled Outlive Your Life. It’s not enough for you to do well. You want to do good. You want your life to matter. You want to live in such a way that the world will be glad you did.
But how can you? How can I? Can God use us? I have one hundred and twenty answers to that question. One hundred and twenty residents of ancient Israel. They were the charter members of the Jerusalem church (Acts 1:15). Fishermen, some. Revenue reps, others. A former streetwalker and a converted revolutionary or two. They had no clout with Caesar, no friends at the temple headquarters. Truth be told, they had nothing more than this: a fire in the belly to change the world.
Thanks to Luke we know how they fared. He recorded their stories in the book of Acts. Let’s listen to it. That’s right listen to the book of Acts. It cracks with the sounds of God’s ever-expanding work. Press your ear against the pages, and hear God press into the corners and crevices of the world.
Hear sermons echo off the temple walls. Baptismal waters splashing, just-saved souls laughing. Hear the spoon scrape the bowl as yet another hungry mouth is fed.
Listen to the doors opening and walls collapsing. Doors to Antioch, Ethiopia, Corinth, and Rome. Doors into palaces, prisons, and Roman courts.
And walls. The ancient prejudice between Jew and Samaritan down! The thick and spiked division between Jew and Gentile crash! The partitions that quarantine male from female, landowner from pauper, master from slave, black African from Mediterranean Jew. God demolishes them all.
Acts announces, God is afoot!
Is he still? we wonder. Would God do with us what he did with his first followers? Heaven knows we hope so.
These are devastating times:
- 75 billion people are desperately poor, 1 billion are hungry,
- millions are trafficked in slavery, and pandemic diseases are gouging entire nations. Each year nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade.
- And in the five minutes it took you to read these pages, almost ninety children died of preventable diseases.
- More than half of all Africans do not have access to modern health facilities. As a result, 10 million of them die each year from diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria, and measles. Many of those deaths could be prevented by one shot.
- Yet in the midst of the wreckage, here we stand, the modern-day version of the Jerusalem church. You, me, and our one-of-a-kind lifetimes and once-in-history opportunity…
Reprinted by permission. “Outlive Your Life”, Max Lucado, 2010, Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. To obtain this book online go here.