My daily routine begins with a time of prayer and reading the Bible before heading to the gym.  In my current reading plan, today’s Bible verse came from the book of Ecclesiastes. For most of my life, the only thing I knew about Ecclesiastes was from The Byrds’ timeless 1965 hit “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Here is a portion of the lyrics, which were taken from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. 

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, a time to reap

A time to kill, a time to heal

A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down

A time to dance, a time to mourn

A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

A time of love, a time of hate

A time of war, a time of peace

A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

A time to gain, a time to lose

A time to rend, a time to sew

A time to love, a time to hate

A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

The verse that impacted me today was not from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, but from the second part of verse one in Chapter 7. The Message version says, “… Your death date tells more than your birth date.” That really stood out to me.  

Chapter 3 contains a lot of the things that we do or don’t do during our lives. It is the culmination of the things we do and the choices we make that make the difference at our death date. Do I choose love? Do I choose hate? Do I build up or break down? Do I choose peace or war? 

Birth date versus death date: It’s a fact that everybody knows their birth date but nobody knows their death date. I once heard someone refer to the time between the two as the “dash.” When you go to a cemetery and look at a grave marker there is the birthdate and the death date. The line that separates them actually represents the person’s life. The dash!  

My question for you and me today is how are we each living our “dash?” What choices am I making today? Are they good for those in my life? Am I seeking to be the husband to Nancy that God wants me to be today? By my words and my actions, how will people see me today? Am I making a difference for God today? The day we die is the end of the “dash.” It will tell a story. It will tell more than your birth date. It is the sum total of every day of your life. What story will it tell? 

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