There are no Logos on Tombstones

When I was twenty two I had enough interest in God not to get myself into trouble, but not enough to understand what life is about. In your early twenties the world is ahead of you, the great accomplishments of your life are yet to be accomplished, your story could go anywhere.

Half way through your thirties you start to wake up, if you are lucky. You start to realize that you might actually be, at this moment, what you will ever be. Some  respond with divorce, some with faith crisis, some with apathy, some with nostalgia and attempting to prolong adolescence even longer.

But there are some who awaken to something altogether different. Some who understand what The Teacher, the author of Ecclesiastes is saying, and those who grasp the story of Jesus and the gospel awaken to something incredibly important. It is something that you will notice when you walk through any cemetery on earth. There are no logo’s on tombstones. There are no corporate symbols, company names, or government seals. No slogans, no church names, no non-profit kudos. And there will not be one on yours. What you find on tombstones is the description of those whom you loved, and who loved you. “Beloved Father”, “Beloved Daughter”, “Loved by all who knew them”… and so on.

My tombstone will not have the Watermark Logo on it. It will have the inscription that my loved ones put there.  People are more important than organizations and brands. People are eternal, organizations expand and dissipate and disappear like the morning fog. tombstone

In your early twenties you want favor in the eyes of people, you want favor in the eyes of God, and you want happiness. The problem is that you have been told that what you build with your hands is how you find meaning, purpose and favor, but it’s not. It is what you build with your heart.

King Solomon wrote:

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

At the heart of the gospel is a reminder that you are not the sum of your actions or deeds, yet most people’s lives do not reflect that. Love and faithfulness to God and others will give you everything that you are seeking from your accomplishments, but it will also bring you happiness and joy that can not be found anywhere else. We know, deep down, what matters, but we don’t live like we do.

Protect what matters. For those of you in your twenties, practice love and faithfulness. When you wake up in your thirties, forties, or fifties, you will have found what your heart was seeking, but you will have obtained it in a way that you never thought you could. And it will stay with you.

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Lets Talk about Your Soul-Crushing Calendar.

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Every single Sunday morning I ask countless people the american greeting question: “Hey, how are things?”. And ninety nine point nine percent of the time I receive an answer similar to “Man, things are so busy!”. Everyone is so busy. When you look into the eyes of other people you can see the glazed over look of a life that is filled with wall to wall obstacles, appointments and meetings. So many hurdles to wade through from the moment the feet hit the floor until the head finally hits the pillow in exhaustion. Yet we talk about how busy we are with our chests pushed out, as if we were waiting for the medal of american respect to be pinned to our chests because, yes… we are so very busy.

A relative of mine works for a ministry where there are weekly meetings that he has secretly dubbed “busy time”. One by one each person at the table takes their turn spinning tales of busy-ness. Each one greater than the last until they all can smile and affirm together that, yes, they are the busiest people they know.

On the other hand I have far too many conversations after Sunday worship gatherings that are filled with statements like “I just don’t feel close to God” or “I don’t have time to read and study, to meditate and exercise and grow”.

We always seem to have time for everyone else’s needs, but never for our own. We have time to help everyone else build what they want to build, but never time to build ourselves into what we want and need to become.

I have a small phrase that I want to give you. I think it will be a gift to you. And I think this little phrase can change your life. Are you ready? Here we go:

Your calendar is not about what you need to get done, it is about the kind of person that you want to be.

Your calendar should represent the you of your dreams. When I hear the laments of people who are unhappy with who they are right now, the state of their spiritual lives, the mass of chaos that has become their soul, I don’t need to wonder what their calendar for the last 6 months looked like. I already know.

They have been pouring themselves out. For everyone. For friends and family and bosses and co-workers, and even for God. The color coded blocks that pepper their ical like shotgun blasts represent a thousand little pieces of their heart and soul that they are giving away to others. Sometimes out of love, sometimes out of obligation, and sometimes out of fear.

And the blank spaces in their calendar represent the times that, if nothing else comes up, just might be times when they can refill their souls that have been running on fumes for months, if not years. When did it become okay, and even a badge of honor, to wear exhaustion around necks? When did it become acceptable to give the reigns of your life over to the tyranny of the whims of other people?

I made a decision at some point over the last couple of years to stop the madness. And it all started with a question:

What kind of person do you want to be in six months?

And let me follow that up with another question:

Does your calendar represent a movement towards becoming that person?

If not, you need to delete it and start over.

You see, your life shouldn’t be found in the blank spaces. Your personal growth and health should be first and foremost laid out in the boldest colors. And they should be locked in and immoveable.

Open your calendar today and ask yourself a couple of questions:

Do you want a better prayer life? Yes? Then show me exactly where on your calendar you have designated time for prayer, for reading books on prayer, for praying with others.

Do you want to have a deeper understanding of theology and spirituality? Show me where on your calendar you have designated times for reading, for meeting with your pastor or elders, or for taking classes on those particular subjects.

Do you want to have a better marriage? A deeper and more active sex life? A more intimate relationship with your spouse? So when were you planning on pursuing them? If you are just waiting for things to happen, you are forgetting that you are already struggling to find time for yourself and your God… weren’t those things just supposed to “happen” as well?

How about rest? Is vacation an afterthought? Are you putting money away every week in order to go to the mountains or the ocean and fill yourself up? Or are you just hoping that you will stumble into some extra days off and then struggle to stressfully scrape up some cash to do so? You don’t really believe that you will come back filled up when you stressed over money the entire time, do you?

Six months from now you will be someone else. And it’s your choice who that person will be.

If you don’t tell your time how it will be spent, then other people will. I promise you. Do you know why? Because you have no reason to say no. Your calendar is wide open, and your achilles heal is exposed. But your defense mechanism is the simple phrase: “I’m sorry, my calendar is booked at that time”.

One thing that I have noticed is that no one ever questions the calendar. If you tell them “I will be playing candyland with my daughter”, they will become irritated at your lack of commitment to whatever it is that they deem important. BUT, if your reply is “The Calendar is booked”  then there is no questions. The calendar is gospel to them, because they are busy, and busyness is honorable. Candyland is not.

So may your calendar reflect your sanctification. Your movement towards a life that reflects Jesus. The desires of your heart to live a meaningful life. To learn, to love, to grow, and to build a life that is filled with grace and peace.

Your calendar is not a reflection of what you need to get done. It is a well lit path towards kind of person that you will become. So fill ‘er up.