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The Summation of Your Life

The Summation of Your Life: (Audio)

I love a good story. Much of my desire for a story comes from the search for adventure, intrigue, and wonderment, stories that give me insight into a time period or a location, stories that give answers to questions that I have. Honestly, I like the story to be a narrative that unfolds life across a period of time so that the ending is no surprise because I’ve read and lived the story from beginning to end.

I’ve concluded that writers like Louis L’Amour have found a format for the story and can tell the same format over and over, only the names and places and circumstances are changed, and people will buy their stories for years and rave over the books. Even with his passing back in 1988, his stories still sell and are enjoyed worldwide today. I’ve just finished reading two of my favorites, Walking Drum and The Last of the Breed.

Yet, to satisfy my own needs of knowledge and exploration of the world around me, I look for stories and authors that can bring the world alive. Give me something that I can live in for the moment, and experience with the intention of learning about this world we live in.

There are four particular author’s that help me live the story. I read, and re-read their works every few years. Pause for a moment. I wonder if this should be the way we read God’s Word, the Holy Bible? A story that teaches and unravels lives lived in times past!

  • James Michener penned saga’s involved with people, places and things that seemingly circles the entire globe. He covers generations of time in 1000 pages. For example, he wrote a book on Hawaii. The first 150 pages were nothing more than the description of how these islands were formed. I learned so much and will often re-read these pages just to grasp the mechanics of our planets operations as I study for another purpose. In another book, he writes about an archeological dig in Israel (The Source), and for about 1200 pages he unfolds history at each level of excavation, giving me insight as to how that time period might have experienced life. Still, in another book, Alaska, he explains the spawning cycle of the Pacific salmon in such a way that Scientist have concluded he’s nailed it!
  • Bruce Feiler, who wrote a number of books about his heritage as a Jewish man traveling through the Middle East to discover and document his roots. There is even a PBS special on this that I bought on Amazon and I enjoyed watching him make the trek of a lifetime, interviewing locals and discovering the land.  After reading nearly 3000 pages of his writings I can appreciate the hardship of the Jewish nation from the perspective of a Jewish man attempting to understand why all “this” has happened to his people.
  • James Alexander Thom authored a book that my bride recommended to me, Follow the River. It opens up an entirely new genre of Historical Fiction written from records found in various storage places and libraries, sometimes only by accident. He attempts to present the speaking style of the players of the story. George Rogers Clark, Lewis and Clark, Tecumseh, and others from the 18th and 19th century. Amazing stories of how frontier life transpired as this nation was formed.
  • Some years ago, author Donald Miller was recommended to me in one of my classes. I’m reading “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.”  This book is about the author writing and editing the story of his life that will be made into a movie. Trying to understand his life, and how plain it is, the producer of the movie makes a comment: “The story of your life is too boring.”  The author considers this statement over pages of the book but has a somewhat different insight into the statement. Summation: Life is staggering – and we’re all just used to it.

Our staggering life…and we’re all used to it…  What a statement! What a thought!

At the end of our lives, we are going to sit before God and He’s going to open the book that sums up our lives. Perhaps embedded within the pages of His book will be every single moment we’ve lived. Will there be recorded all the drama and excitement alongside all the boring and uninteresting moments? Perhaps. But the most important thing will be our summation. Will we hear the words: “Well done thou good and faithful servant…” (Matthew 25:23) Or perhaps those dreaded words we will hear: “Depart from me, I never knew you…” (Matthew 7:23)

What will be the summation of your staggering life?

Believe me. Each of our lives is a staggering tale. If you were asked to write a summation of your life lived to this point, what would your statement say?

You have to find the interesting parts, combine them with all that boring stuff, and write a summation that will tell the scope of your life. Was it lived full, or did it barely make it to the end?

I believe some of us struggle with the story of our lives and how to make it more meaningful. We are caught up with the drama of day to day stuff and we’re missing the staggering beauty and hope of our existence. We fail to see that our choices are telling stories about us that write our very existence on the pages of someone’s book, from which a few pages may be used by someone standing over us and reciting our final story.

What we may say about each other, to each other, and let it pass through generations that follow, may mean so little. What’s more important will be the summation that God has for our lives.