The End of the Beginning

“So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”

Genesis 50:26

Newsflash: Everybody dies.

Now I know, on the one hand, that seems painfully obvious.  On the other hand, I meet people almost every day who have seemingly forgotten this basic fact of life.  They act as if they have all the time in the world to worry over the smallest of things.  They plan their daily activities as if their social status, or the size of their bank accounts, or the latest project at work, or their social plans for the evening, are what life is all about.  Some, sadly, worry more about where their next drink or fix will come from than anything else.  It is human nature, I suppose, to fill our days with things that are far less profound in nature than pondering life and death, though, for many around the world, that is all that consumes them – day to day survival.

For those of us not living in war zones – we have the luxury – of worrying about lesser matters.

It doesn’t change the newsflash one bit: everybody dies.

So, the real issue before us – the real thing that matters – is how we will live.  Will we leave a legacy that speaks of high values, deep faith, profound love, sacrificial giving, and other such important things?

Will we just waste out time – our life – on lesser matters?  Will we make every day, every hour, every minute count?

These are the questions I ponder as I come to the end of my reading of Genesis.  The patriarch Joseph lived a life that mattered – that was a testimony to his deep faith and love for God.  His life, and many like it, can inspire us to keep our priorities straight.  We can aspire to aim high and love and serve God rather than getting bogged down in minor affairs of this world.

In the end – we all die.  That is really not news at all.

How we lived – that is what matters most of all.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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