Only One Life ‘Twill Soon Be Past

Matt and I watched “American Sniper” last week. I forgot how hard it was to see the effects of war on the soldiers. The PTSD, the struggles with reentry, and the weight they will always carry is all a heavy burden put upon our service men and women. Spoiler…it’s an older movie, but just in case…Chris Kyle (the movie’s subject) is killed by another soldier returned home who he was trying to help. It was tragic and sad and terrible to see all he endured only to lose his life at a young age.

As the movie ended, real life footage was shown as they transported his body in Texas. The roads and bridges were lined with people and American flags. It was a sight to behold. I watched it, and the line from and old poem popped into my mind: “Only what’s done for Christ will last.” I knew there was a line before that but I couldn’t recall the exact wording, so I looked it up. The full poem is long, but these two lines are repeated at the end of each stanza:

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” (poem by C.T. Studd)

The line just repeated over and over in my mind as I watched this young 30 something man’s body being laid to rest. “Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Death and grief have been near in the past few months, and I find myself more and more cognizant of the short time I have on this earth. I don’t know why this poem dropped into my mind and heart after the movie. I certainly didn’t feel as though he had wasted his life. Yet I couldn’t let go of this sentiment.

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

I believe it. But do I live like it? Today, right now, only what’s done for Christ will last. Jesus said that if we care for the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, even strangers, that we do it for him. You don’t have to spend your days on the street corner preaching the good news or handing out tracts for everyone passing by in order to live your life for Jesus. (Unless God calls you go do that – if He does, then obey!) Serve the least of these as the Bible describes it: your children, the poor, the homeless, the elderly. I bet you can find someone to show the love of Jesus today who desperately needs it.

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

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