Try as she might, she just could not get it right. What she drew was a clock face with sixteen hours as opposed to the standard twelve hours. Oh, she succeeded in drawing one o’clock through twelve o’clock; only all of these ended at what amounted to eight o’clock on the dial. She then repeated nine, ten, eleven, and twelve o’clock, to round out the circle.
After her passing, my precious wife took the picture she had drawn, and had it copied, framed, and mounted for my two sisters and me. Here was the result…
This past week, I helped to bury my older sister, Barbara Jean Jackson Brand, down in Alabama. Toward the end of her struggle, she affirmed the same testimony that the Apostle Paul had in his second letter to Timothy (II Timothy 4:6-8):
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
The words Paul closed with here include my precious sister! Like the Apostle Paul, she fought a good fight, having suffered from the ravishes of ovarian cancer. Like the Apostle Paul, she faithfully finished her course. Like the Apostle Paul, she kept the faith. And, just like the Apostle Paul, she is now experiencing her eternal reward!
As you can see, her passing has clearly underscored for me the importance of preparing for how we will spend eternity in the world to come. And yet, her passing has also underscored the significance of how we spend our time in this world.
We are each allotted our respective time in this world. Yet, no matter how long we are given, when all is said and done, we likely conclude that Karen Kingsbury is right in that “love never has enough time”.
Never enough time! To do what we hope to do, to go where we hope to go, or to say what we hope to say. And yet, in God’s timing, perhaps, we do have that. Perhaps we just need to make that a priority! The passing of my mother, and now of my sister, has reminded me that I do not need to find time for such things; rather, I need to make time for these things!
Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul also told the Ephesians (chapter 5, verse 16) to “make the most of your time” in this world. Opportunities to do what we hope to do, to go where we hope to go, or to say what we hope to say in this world are available, but limited.
More to the point, opportunities to do what we need to do, to go where we need to go, or to say what we need to say in this world are available, but limited. To her credit, my sister did just this.
The Apostle Paul once told the Corinthians (I Corinthians, chapter 11, verse 1): “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
My sister did that. All throughout her life, she did that! But especially as her time in this world grew short, she did that even more so. Just like Jesus and just like Paul as they each faced the end of their earthly lives, she increasingly focused on what mattered most. Just like Jesus and just like Paul, she increasingly focused on what she truly needed to do and to say. And just like Jesus and just like Paul, she then actually did and said these very things.
And so, inspired and motivated by her, I now intend to follow not only Jesus’ example, and not only Paul’s example, but also my sister’s example, and go forth and do the same!