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Monday, 3 November 2008
What will your footprint be?
As Russell Crowe's Maximus says in the opening scene of 'Gladiator' while readying his Roman Legions for battle "What we do in life, echoes in eternity." Whoever came up with that inspiration gem in the writer's room in pre-production deserved a gold star for truly capturing how leaders can inspire their followers. Admittedly as we draw closer to Remembrance Day on November 11 - I still find it hard to comprehend what corner any man had to turn to get 'ready' for battle and being prepared to kill or lest be killed. I don't deny for a second that when I see war docos on the History Channel I occasionally tear up because I just can't answer the question of 'would I have been able to do what they did' openly - these men and women who fought in the great wars of the 20th century (and before obviously) faced a battle to overcome both their fear and the odds that stray lead or explosives would claim their courage without them having any say in the matter. That is what scares me most when it comes to trying to comprehend war and the act of battle. In our lives right now we've got this mindset of control over our destiny. Over our next day, over our next action over the very next breath we'll take... we think we've got it all in hand and we can literally choose our own adventure. The people who fell in war had no such misconception. Their lives were a toss of a coin or literally the aim of a bullet in most cases and for some they never even knew the danger they would fall victim too. Just try and picture how you'd try and cope or adapt in a situation where all of a sudden - you are in a situation that you CANNOT control the outcome no matter what you do. I'd be wearing double absorbent Huggies for a start and I'm not even sure they'd be enough... war scares me beyond reckoning because as I just wrote - we think we're in control of what happens next. Well newsflash ladies and gentlemen - we ain't! I deliberately left the caption blank on the picture I took for this blog because I think you need to try and match the blog title to what might be in the picture. There is a footprint there... you might not be able to make it out and I only put pressure on the ground for about 10 seconds or so but in the grand scheme of time - those ten seconds are more than what my lifetime registers on the scale. What I'm asking here is - does your footprint make a greater impression? What have you left embedded in your life that will 'echo in eternity?' Is it the imprint of a hobbit-looking hairy foot? or is it something more? As regular readers of this blog will know - I'm writing a novel. The quick synopsis is that the story revolves around one's struggles with following what they believe and what the world has come to believe matters. Which way do we follow - the tough trek up the mountain on foot or just cruise down the highway to oblivion? The hero in my story faces the decision to follow his Lord and Saviour or remain loyal to the Kingdom that he has grown up in as an heir to the throne and has given him everything he has ever needed in his world's estimation of worth. Is his sense of loyalty stronger than his faith? He must decide what is the right choice - and what footprint his decision will leave on the land he has lived in. Ecclesiastes 6:12: "For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?" Here is the wisest of all mortal men King Solomon (bar Jesus) saying that no matter what when death comes the individual won't know what happens after he is gone - and that's a good point but what I'm getting at here is others will see what you left behind and even while you're alive they will see what you don't really see - who you are in their eyes and what you live for. When we go from this life we won't be able to reflect and say 'gee how good did I go here' because if you're a Christian our focus won't be on what we have done but what we are doing in heaven - but if you make something matter in your life in your walk with Jesus - those who are still 'under the sun' might get some encouragement from something you've done with the days you did have. Am I running around in circles here? Possibly but I'm also trying to encourage you to realise that the decisions you make here and now matter in the future - not just for yourself. For myself - I don't doubt for a second that God put this idea for the novel in my head back in 2003 for a reason - it might've taken me the best part of 5 years to get stuck into it but as I frantically scribbled down more notes about the Final Scene of the book during the sermon last night (will I get in trouble for admitting that? no... not if I note that the passage used actually helped me in a big way to capture where the next turn of the Finale would go. I was in half light during the singing at the end of the service writing in BIG scribble (as opposed to my normal scribble that is hard to read in the best of light) as the scene just flowed in my head like a movie... but I can't tell you what happens... not yet. But believe me - if I'm sitting there excited about the scenes that are coming together in my head and trying my best to write them into readable copy - they'll be good. So for me as I work on this massive charge of writing a novel about my Lord - I feel as if this is just one part of what I will leave on this earth that signals to people that I followed the Lord. I want people to know that Jesus means more to me than anything else in this world - not just appearing to be a lifestyle choice I've made that makes people go 'Oh that's nice but not for me'. I love God - what I'm trying to do is leave a footprint that shows people now and in the future that this is what mattered in my life - Jesus. And I can control how much I talk about the love of Jesus - even if I can't control what will happen in the next 24 hours. Free will gives us the choice to choose what really matters to our hearts - and I'll let a living insight from my NIV say the next bit "Our thoughts form the thermostat that regulates what we accomplish in life... you and I become what we think about." Jesus has echoed pretty strongly in eternity so far me thinks, I just want to help make that echo a little bit louder.
By W D Nicolson