Life is a Dash

If I were to meet you for the very first time, how would you answer the question, “Who are you?” If you were to define yourself in just one word, what would it be? What one word defines who you really are?

LIfe is so short. Our tombstones state our lives as one little dash. How are you spending yours?
LIfe is so short. Our tombstones state our lives as one little dash. How are you spending yours?

I recall sitting in a Sunday School class years ago while the teacher reminded each and every one of us about the brevity of life. As you know, cemetery stones show two years: one for the year the person was born and the other in which they died. It is merely a “-” depicting the person’s life.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.James 4:1

We can get so caught up in this life by the title we bear, the items we own and a long list of accomplishments. In the end, however, only one title truly matters. Will you call yourself a Christian? It is interesting how we so quickly place our identity in the things of this world…things that simply consist of the in-between, the dash. It is much easier to place our identities in the things we do before placing our identity solely in who we are in Christ. Unfortunately, the name Christian has gotten a bad rap. It has some negative connotations to go along with it, such as “loser,” “hypocrite,” “religious,” or “legalistic.” I have to admit honestly; there had been times when I have stood in a room and not wanted anyone to know that I am a Christian. I have not wanted to step up or speak up for what I believe. I have remained silent rather than let others in the room know that I am a believer. At times, I wondered if I would be the only one? Would I have to stand all alone? Would I still be accepted by my friends and peers in the room? At other times, it was because I didn’t know if I could defend my faith. Did I know scripture well enough? Could I argue my points as elegantly and intellectually as others around me?

Charles Swindoll documented a story of a theology teacher named Thayer S. Warshaw whom once quizzed his junior and senior bound students to answer a few Bible trivia questions. The answers they gave may come as a surprise to you:

Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers.
Jezebel was Ahab‘s donkey.
The four horsemen appeared on the Acropolis.
The gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luther and John.
Eve was created from an apple.
Jesus was baptized by Moses.
Golgotha was the name of a giant who slew the apostle David.

In all honestly, I don’t know if the majority of Christians would fair much better. Studies have revealed time and time again that the majority of people who call themselves a Christian rarely attend church or pick up a Bible. We may put on the title of Christian because our parents did…and our grandparents did…and so on and so forth. We may also pick the title Christian because of our country’s heritage. Or maybe from a list of other religions, it just seems to suit us well. However, in Hosea 4:6 we are warned, “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”

So, let’s go back to the beginning…Are you who you want to be? Is your identity wrapped up in eternal things? And when others go to place your “-” on your tombstone, what words will first come to mind?

Let’s leave a “-” which is recognizable as one who is a follower of Christ.