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The Last Mile of the Way

You never know when you’ll see someone for the last time. When Mr. Fred Russell squeezed my hand a month ago at Southern Oaks Assisted Living and said “Now, don’t forget to come back!”, I had no idea that it was the last time we would see each other in this life. Today as I sat among his friends and family at his funeral, I couldn’t help but think of things I wish I could have told him before he left: how much he meant to me, what a great example of Christian love he was, etc. I wish I had taken time to get to know him better—as it was, I only learned about his younger days when I read his obituary, and realized that he and I had a love of camping in common.

But as much as I will miss brother Fred, and as much as I wish I had done more while he was still here, I am not sad. As the preacher remarked at the funeral, “He was a Christian, and you can’t top that!” Even though he’s finished the last mile of the way, he was faithful in his life, and by the grace of God he will receive his reward, and I will see him again.

Even though we can be certain about our reception after death, life is still uncertain, and no one knows when it will end. I don’t mean to be morbid, but each interaction with a person may be your last. Knowing that, shouldn’t we be more encouraging, more loving, more focused on others? Encouragement is not something that should be put off. Opportunities come and go, and some may make an eternal difference. Also, I believe that every interaction either brings people closer to God or pulls them away, even if in the slightest degree. That’s something I want to try to keep in the forefront of my mind, so that I can try to do better to make sure my life does bring people closer to God.

We only have so much time allotted to us, but opportunities abound. Let’s take advantage of them before they slip away.