What About the Dash?
Published 10:51 am Saturday, November 25, 2023
By Michael J. Brooks
We saw Mt. Rushmore last year, taking a day trip after helping our son move to Denver. I wasn’t sure how I’d react to being on site in person, but it was a great experience. The carving is all I’d thought, and more. It took 400 people 14 years to produce the monument featuring two founders, Washington and Jefferson, and two dynamic leaders, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
Now some suggest adding another chief executive to the mountainside.
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Polling identifies Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan and Franklin Roosevelt. Some even suggest a non-president such as Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King or Elvis! Since the monument is under scrutiny now by activists who insist the land was taken from Native Americans, I don’t suspect we’ll see new carvings in our lifetimes.
Few of us can expect our legacy to be so pronounced.
But we’ll all have a legacy.
A pastor friend who conducts a lot of funerals is well-known for a poem he recites in each service. The thrust of the missive is that the “dash” between the dates of birth and death summarizes the legacy we leave. And the God we serve and the people we love make the “dash” positive or not.
Jesus told a parable about a wealthy man who had an unusually prosperous year. Since his assets were too great to contain, he pondered what to do. Could he have shared his bounty with neighbors in need? Certainly. Could he have established a place of healing for the sick? Certainly. Could he have formed a foundation to help others beyond his lifetime? Certainly. But this man was overtaken by selfishness.
Someone noted that one wrapped up in himself is a very small package.
This businessman was a small package, indeed. He decided to build bigger storage and hold on to his wealth.
Jesus said his decision that day sealed his fate—the businessman would remain a selfish man the rest of his life. And Jesus boldly called him a fool.
We all struggle with the allure of stuff. Society teaches us to acquire money and things, and that our worth is determined by them. But Jesus sets up a roadblock in our path with a straightforward word about bad choices. In another place Jesus asked what it might profit one who gained the wealth of the world but lost his soul.
A Kentucky millionaire lay on his deathbed in a semi-conscious state. Greedy relatives gathered around him hoping to hear about their inheritance. But the man muttered over and again, “Time for pleasure, time for travel, time for money, but no time for God.”
God gives us an opportunity to work today on the “dash” we’ll leave behind another day.
“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster, Alabama. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.