In an age of increasing “digitization” (is that a word?) where we are increasing moving away from paper books, I have several treasures and they are books. Books that my father and grandfather once held in their hands, read, highlighted and wrote notes. Mr. Jones Meet the Master was written in 1949 as a record of the sermons of Dr. Peter Marshall compiled by his wife Catherine. Marshall was a Presbyterian minister and the 57th Chaplain of The United States Senate.
On March 31, 1946 he had a heart attack while preaching, but that did not stop his passion to preach the gospel. He died on January 25, 1949. In the book referenced above, these words of Marshall reveal his eloquence with communication:
“When the clock strikes for me, I will not go one minute early, and not one minute late. Until then, there is nothing to fear. I know that the promises of God are true, for they have been fulfilled in my life time and time again. Jesus still teaches and guides and protects and heals and comforts, and still wins our complete trust and our love.
The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration but its donation. How much will you be missed?
What a profound statement and question. Take a moment to hear it again and think about it, The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration but its donation. How much will you be missed?
Marshall’s words and question are relevant for us today. I invite you now to carefully read the words of a prayer he wrote nearly 65 years ago. They seem quite appropriate.
Our Father in Heaven, give us
the long view of our work and our world.
Help us to see that it is better to fail
in a cause that will ultimately succeed
than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail.
May thy will be done here, and may Thy program
be carried out, above party and personality,
beyond time and circumstance,
for the good of America and the peace of the world.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Is your life about duration or donation?