What Does the Atlas of Your Life Look Like?

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I was sitting at my desk wondering where God was going to lead me this morning. As I did I glanced at a stack of books on my desk. One of my books is an Atlas of the Bible Lands. On the back cover is a map of Palestine in the New Testament Times. I got to thinking about how I use the maps to help me discover where all the Disciples, Paul and Jesus traveled while on earth. I am able to study their journeys and find out about the significance of these places in their lives. It gives me a brief outline of what took place while at each place.
 
Well, like normal my mind starts to wonder. I wondered if someone took a look at my life after I died what would they find. If they were to study the places I have been what would those places tell them? The bible gives us stories of people who knew Jesus. These people tell us how he lived, what he taught and who his best friends were.
 
I know I will never have a Bible written in my honor about myself. But, I wonder if people wanted to study my life, if they sought out people who knew me and if they could follow my journey what would it say about me?
 
I would like to think someone would have some good things to say about me and they just might. I am sure just like Jesus had the Pharisees and those who wanted to destroy him people would find there are those in my life that would like to destroy my credibility and talk about those times I’d just as soon forget. Which of the two groups of people would be heard and believed? Would there be more of the good things in my life talked about or would those things I’d like to forget outweigh the good?
 
I have traveled around a lot. I have been to Jamaica, Haiti, and Oklahoma on various mission trips. My journey often goes between Texas and Indiana. I have visited several states. My map I am thinking would look pretty bizarre and curvy….not a straight one by no means. What mark did I leave on those places? I would like to think I made a difference in someone’s life by something I said or did. There are some places I am sure I have been to that I have forgotten about. I am sure I have been to places where no one even knew I existed let alone made an impact.
 
What amazes me is when Christ walked this earth everywhere he went he made an impact on someone’s life. Everyone he came into contact with was affected by him one way or another. We all know the “throw a stone in the pond and see the ripple effect” message. That was Christ. Even those who did not know him knew about him through the ripple effect.
I am not Christ nor will I ever come close to being anything nearly like him, but it’s a gentle reminder that I need to work on being more like him so that someday, somewhere if someone wants to know more about me they will come to know Christ lived in me and was with me during my journeys. I want them to be able to get the message that I was only able to do those things I did because Christ was my traveling companion; not only my traveling companion but my guide and my travel agent.
 
We all should be living our lives with the thought that maybe just maybe someday somewhere someone will want to study our lives to see how we made it through this life. Just like the Bible helps us maybe our lives can be an example for our grandchildren or great-grandchildren, or nieces and nephews and all the others that will someday follow us. If we live and follow Christ on our journey and scatter seeds (thanks Pastor Eddie) our lives may just lead someone to Christ.
 
I am a big Peyton Manning fan and in his retirement speech he said these words, “When I look back on my NFL career, I’ll know without a doubt that I gave everything I had to help my teams walk away with a win. There were other players who were more talented but there was no one could out-prepare me and because of that I have no regrets.” I want others who look at my life and say that without a doubt she gave everything she had to help others find their way to Christ and walk away a winner. I want others to say there were more talented people, wiser Christians, and stronger Christians, but there was no one more prepared and gave it all she had. I want others to know I died having no regrets.
 
He went on to say, “There’s a scripture reading, 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight and I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”  Peyton may have finished his football career, but I am not finished yet and so until I am finished and God’s calls me home I am going to fight the good fight and finish the race. I will keep the faith so that others who may come after me will be encouraged to follow in Christ’s footsteps just as I tried.
 
I encourage you to think about your own life’s map. I think it would be great if you jotted down some notes about the places you’ve been and things you’ve done. I encourage you to leave journals for others on how you were able to journey through this life. Share with those who will follow you how Christ made a difference in your life. Let those who know and love you have more to say than those who know about your mistakes.
 
Journey on my friend, be like Peyton and prepare each day for the journey that is before you, live with no regrets and fight the good fight while keeping Christ in your life, in your heart and as your goal. Above all keep the faith.
Let others who see and study your journey realize Christ was your travel agent, tour guide and your constant companion. Leave a mark and like Pastor Eddie said scatter seeds so others may know Christ.
 
The Dash Between by Ron Tranmer©
I knelt there at the headstone of one I love and cried.
Name, with dates of birth and death were perfectly inscribed.
 
I pondered these two dates and how little they both mean
when compared to the tiny dash that lies there in between.
 
The dash serves as an emblem of our time here on the earth,
and although small, it stands for all our years of life, and worth.
And our worth will be determined by how we live each day.
We can fill our dash with goodness, or waste our life away.
 
To ourselves, as well as others, let’s be honest, kind and true,
and every day, live the way we know God wants us to.
 
May we look for opportunities to do a worthy deed,
and reach out with compassion to those who are in need.
 
For If our hearts are full of love throughout our journey here,
we’ll be loved by all who knew us and our memory they’ll hold dear.
And when we die, these memories will bring grateful, loving tears,
to all whose lives were touched by the dash between our years.
 
Dear God: I ask that you help me as I prepare to live my life daily for you. May I use each day to encourage others, help others and to guide them toward you. If someday someone studies my life let them see it was only because of you that I was able to make it through this journey. I may never be a Peyton, a Paul, or any of the Disciples, but may I do the best I can with what you have given me. Thank you for filling my heart with love while I am on this journey here. Amen
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