Not long ago, while walking in a local cemetery just after finishing the graveside service of a friend, I happened upon an epitaph that read: "If I had known better, I would have loved more. If I had loved more, I would have hurt less. If I had hurt less, I would have waited longer. If I had waited longer, I would have lived more. If I had lived more, I would have known better". Now, I'm not completely sure what the person who wrote these words was trying to say, other than life can seem offly simple and complex all at the same time. And, it can also seem like a 'runaround' if we forget what it all means. Knowing 'life matters' is part of what makes 'life matter'.
It is remarkable to me that after so many degrees, seminars, speaking engagements, and study, the most important parts of who I am go back to the table of a humble man or a faithful woman or a loving friend who taught me simple lessons about me... Shane. These 'angels' taught me that life matters because God has framed our existence in the fragile tension between who we are and who we claim to be. When those concepts are closest together, and, thus, closest to Him, we find the meaning of it all in rather simple and profound ways. We see the core values unfold. We watch relationships grow. We discover the corners of our creativity and the best parts of our journey. We draw closer to what is most important-- and make life matter.
--From 'Making Life Matter' by Shane Stanford (Abingdon Press 2012)
Shane Stanford is a pastor, teacher and author committed to sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with the world.