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“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” ~ I Corinthians 3:10-15

The other night at dinner, my little boy asked me very somberly, “Is my daddy exactly like Matthew’s daddy?” (Yes, that rips your heart out in person just as much as on the page.) My son really admires the dad of his closest little friend, and I could see he was trying to form a picture of what his own father acted like, and this comparison was the most logical one to his three-year-old mind.

We spent a long time talking; through dinner, a phone call to my mother-in-law for additional details, and throughout the next day, discussing about all the things my late husband had worked on as a mechanical engineer. My son was very excited to know that his daddy built a real racecar, had worked on a robot, and designed equipment for firefighters. He was impressed and proud of all the memories that I could share, and wanted to see everything we had at our house that his daddy left here for us.

I know as he grows older, I will share more of the intangible things – his father’s depth of character, passion to grow in Christ, and about the impact his life and death had on people for eternity. For now, my little boy just wants to be able to add to a conversation about who his dad is and what kinds of things he did; to be able to share stories of his own father.

Yet through all of this discussion, I was struck by the fact that the list of professional accomplishments my husband accumulated during his short career is finite – it’s complete. He will not be adding to this list, at least here on earth as we know it. His opportunities to impact this world through daily action have ended. Yes, his life has left an indelible mark and continues to influence, but they are only the reverberations of his accomplishments during his time here.

The same can be said for all of us. We have a limited time to do what God asks us to do in this life. When we come to the end of our days, our work will be tested by fire. The distractions and life’s busy, unnecessary details will burn away, and we will be left with the work we truly did for the kingdom of heaven. And the opportunity to add to that work will be at an end.

What are you doing, today, to answer Jesus’ call to take up your cross and follow Him? We are not all called to do big things, but we are all called to do something. Whether it is singing songs about Jesus with your little ones at home, donating an extra few dollars to the missionaries your church supports, or heeding the call to travel overseas, the time to honor God is now. You may not have tomorrow.