Updated: Jun 12, 2021
My Birthday was August 5th, I turned 23. Just a day before that I was 22, it's crazy how much things can change in just 24 hours. I start thinking of birthday's and how people have baby showers to celebrate new life. They bring the parent(s) gifts that would help with the raising of the new child(ren). One of the first gifts given to the child by the parent(s) is a name. Besides that, the child hasn't lived long enough for us to celebrate or cherish anything about them besides being born. One doesn't tell a child on their first birthday, "You are kind, loving, and respectful." The person hasn't lived long enough to live out who they are or who they will be. It's after years of living that those birthday cards get filled with words that describe the uniqueness of the individual because of how they lived.
My focus isn't necessarily on our beginnings as much as it is on our end. Death seals who we are when we were living and others are left with just memories. Good or bad. We don't get to choose what others leave us to remember but we do get to choose what we leave others to remember us by.
I was reading J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when I got to chapter 8 and the title and events that followed captured me, it was "The Deathday Party." Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger were invited to a ghost named Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington's 500th Deathday Party. It was funny but think about it... how many people are still remembered years, even centuries later after their death? The reason is that they have made a difference in one way or another, for worst or for better. Adolf Hitler and John Wesley to give you two polar opposites as examples.
I want to be a voice of reason in your life and say simply that the end matters. Your end matters. How you live your life will determine your "Deathday Party." Will you be loved or hated because of your influence? Will the memory of you bring joy or pain? Will you have invested in lives so they can become fruit-giving trees or will you have taken and destroyed them to make lifeless deserts? How you live now matters, because it will determine the memories you leave.
As a Christian, I purpose to love God and others. I want to be a blessing wherever I go. When I die, I want to leave memories that bring joy, laughter, and celebration. Not because of a shallow life, but because of one well-lived for God and others. A tree bears fruit for others to partake in, I want to live a life that gives for the holistic benefit of others.
Not only will the way I live determine the memories I leave with others, but it will also determine where I go when I step into eternity. Life doesn't end when we die, it truly begins there. Statements and questions like "Where has the time gone? They grew up so fast! I feel like that was yesterday! Oh, I'm already this old?" Are little nuggets that tell us we are not made merely for time, we're headed somewhere else. The life you live determines where that somewhere else will be, out of the two options available to us. I say again, the end matters.
Into a dying world stepped the life-giving Savior, Jesus the Christ. He came "to give us life and life more abundantly" (John 10:10). He also says "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." You can live a life that blesses others while enjoying God in time, and keep on living and enjoying God in eternity after you die. Those who choose not to receive the blessing of life will receive the second death, which is an eternity away from Heaven.
Ronald Weasley states in the book, "Why would anyone want to celebrate the day they died?" If life ended at death, then the answer to Ron's question would be a crazy person. But death doesn’t have to be the end. You can be one who would want to celebrate the day you die because you "entered into the joys of heaven" on that date. Some will be celebrating, some will not be. Some people will leave joy, blessings, love, and others won't. Will your "Deathday Party" be bright and glorious, or dark and lifeless?
"Do you never think about [death]? Why do you not? Are you never to die? Nay, it is appointed for all men to die. And what comes after? Only heaven or hell. Will, the not thinking of death, put it farther off? No; not a day; not one hour." — Rev. John Wesley
I leave with you the words of Jesus, 'The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.' John 10:10