The situation reminded me of a story I’ve heard several times over the years.
In my case, the dash was to separate two numbers on the outside of a condo. The exterior had recently been painted and now the identifying numbers outside of our door were missing.
We chose some brightly coloured ceramic tiles with the numbers but finding a dash was another matter.
One could have been painted on the wall but that’s not what we wanted. The dash had to have more character than a painted line.
Since our condo is on the waterfront, we decided a shell could be used. The hunt was on for the perfect shell. This needed to be unique enough to also reflect who we are.
The story I was reminded of was about a tombstone. It indicated the date of birth and the date of death. Between these dates was a dash. This represented the years of life. The point of the story was to make the most of the dash. Searching for a dash now, reminded me of the importance of living a meaningful life.
When I was a girl in school, the races we ran on sports day were called dashes. I was good at the shorter ones, like the 50 yard dash, but didn’t have the endurance for the longer runs.
I now realize that the dash representing my life is one of endurance. God has given me a unique life and trusts me to run it to the best of my ability. With his guidance I will use it to reflect his light and love to those I come in contact with.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)
While walking through a store I spotted a sign that said, “Are you a winner?” Although it was referring to lottery tickets, it did cause me to stop and evaluate my life.
As I enter a new calendar year with anticipation of what is to come, I felt this was something I should take a closer look at. First I need to define what it means to me to be a winner. Is it coming in first in a contest? While this would be nice, I need to go deeper.
It isn’t prestige, awards or monetary abundance that makes me a winner. To define myself in that way, I must be making a difference in my sphere of influence. Am I a positive role model? Will I actively seek ways to make my part of the world a better place? Do I serve others unselfishly?
I found a quote by Edward Hale, author and clergyman that sums this up for me. It says, “I am only one, but still I am one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
God knows me and sees what is in my heart. When I live as though everything I do is for the Lord, I am pleasing Him. That is the way I can describe myself as a winner.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 NLT
As a self-published author, the majority of my book sales have been ones I have generated. Recently my first royalty cheque arrived from the publisher. Receiving royalties meant that some people had found my book and purchased it through traditional sources. Although the cheque was not large, it was very exciting for me to receive it and I couldn’t help but share the news.
A few friends joked about the word royalty, insinuating that I was referring to myself as royalty. Responding to one, I said, “The crown is too uncomfortable. I’m happier being a commoner.”
Although this was all done in a light-hearted manner, it did give me something to think about. If I value my own thoughts, opinions and needs more highly than those of others, I am putting myself above them. Life is much more enjoyable when I treat everyone as equals. Doing what I can to help others is what makes my life most meaningful.
This was demonstrated clearly by Jesus. As the Son of God, Jesus could have expected to be served. Instead, he came to serve. If I want to follow his example, I need to do the same.
Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:24-27 NLT