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Only Here for a Little While

Regular readers of the Monday musings know that I love the power of musical lyrics to inspire thought and meditation. I was driving home from Newton, Texas after attending a beautiful memorial service for legendary high school coach W.T. Johnston. I thought about the amazing impact Coach Johnston had in only 54 years on this planet.

A song popped up on satellite radio from the Righteous Brothers.

If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.

I do believe in forever and those two lyrical lines reminded me that whether you only have the 54 years that W.T. Johnston got or you are given 100 years this existence is still just an eternal blink of the eye. Clearly your significance is not how long but how well you live your life.

Not long after that I was cycling through the stations and a song called “We’re Only Here for a Little While” pops up. I kid you not. Billy Dean is singing about leaving a funeral and recognizing his need to slow down and enjoy the everyday blessings of life. He decides to become intentional about doing the things that matter.

Gonna hold who needs holdin’
Mend what needs mendin’
Walk what needs walkin’
Though it means an extra mile
Pray what needs prayin’
Say what needs sayin’
Cause we’re only here for a little while.
That is a pretty good to do list to live a life that makes a difference. Being present with those you love. Forgiving and asking to be forgiven. Taking your journey with Jesus seriously. Understanding and practicing the power of prayer. Speaking the truth in grace and love. The last lyric the one that is most fraught with danger. We often find it easy to say what we think needs to be said. It is such a difficult thing to speak truth into the life of someone who is determined to go their own way. Perhaps a gigantic clue is embedded in a verse from the Gospel of John.

Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory—the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. (John 1:14, NET)

Jesus was full of grace and truth. Most of us are full of truth or we are full of some variation of that. I suspect in God’s wisdom, grace comes first because we have a far harder time communicating with grace. I am usually willing to be “honest” and tell you where you are wrong. Doing that with grace and truth requires me to love you and to be vulnerable. Jesus modeled a perfectly balanced blend of grace and truth.

That is my prayer as I engage those who have made mistakes and are suffering the consequences of those decisions. I pray that I will always present truth as a gift of grace from a loving God instead of performance demands in order to be acceptable to Him. The following principle is nearly always true.

Truth presented as law hardens hearts. Truth presented with grace changes hearts.

When we meditate on the grace given to us as a free gift by our gracious God we can can begin to model Paul’s words to the church at Ephesus.

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. (Ephesians 4:15, NLT)

Paul’s words are a pretty good place to finish this week. Meditate on that verse and remember we are only here for a little while.