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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Will You Live Until You Die?

Andres Segovia (1893-1987) was a Spanish classical guitarist and is considered to be the father of the modern classical guitar movement by many scholars (classicalguitar.net). Segovia spent his life seeking to elevate the guitar to a more prominent position in the musical world. He is an example of a person whose passion for life never burned out. He continued to perform well into his nineties. Following two exhausting encores one night in a performance in London, Segovia said to the crowd, "I would love to go on playing, but my guitar is tired." Don't you love that?! Segovia's life reminds me of this anonymous statement: "We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." And this one: "The years may wrinkle the skin, but indifference wrinkles the soul." People like Segovia remind us there is more to life than just being born and taking up space and getting older until we die.

The main business of life is to live — until we die, whether life is long or short. Jesus lived a short life compared to the average American today. Yet the night before He died at the ripe old age of 33, He uttered these confident words: "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do" (John 17:4). Because of that He could pray in the next verse, "And now, 0 Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was" (17:5). Though cut short by modern standards, Christ lived His earthly life to the fullest. His burning desire was to glorify God. He was both goaded and guided by that fundamental principle till He drew His last breath on Calvary's cross. With intensity and perfection unmatched by any other, Jesus lived life in man's service and for God's glory. He preached by life and by lip that mankind's supreme responsibility and highest privilege on earth is to live for God until we die in order that we might live with God after we die!

Will you live until you die? A verse from Ecclesiastes 9:10 encourages each of us to do just that — "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going." A careful study of the context of this verse reveals Solomon is not denying life beyond the grave — he is encouraging life before the grave! Words from author Jack London (1876-1916) remind us not to simply live a long life but rather to live a full and useful life: "I would rather be ashes than dust. I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than that it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." London's words bring to mind these words from Jesus — "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4). Jesus knew He would live with God in the hereafter — but He was also determined to live for God in the here and now. How about you?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ