The tooth of the matter

Last night my daughter lost her first tooth.  It was an exciting moment.  The tooth had been loose for quite some time.  It wobbled while she talked.  She moved it back and forth with her tongue.  It had become so loose in the last week or so that I couldn’t figure out how it was staying in her mouth at all.  But as I put her to bed last night, the weeks of anticipation finally climaxed and the tooth came out.  She was so excited.  She jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom mirror so she could look at the new gap in her smile.  She ran down stairs to show her mom.

I know it is silly, but I was a bit emotional.  I was emotional because she was so excited about it, and that was touching to me in some way.  I was emotional because it seems like just yesterday my wife and I were excited that her teeth were starting to come in and it reminded me how quickly time passes.  I was emotional because it reminded me of how temporary all of this is.

Jesus warned us about how temporary things are. In Luke 21:33 he says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away.”   Jesus was not trying to simply remind us that things won’t last forever, he was trying to direct our focus to what will.  If he had left things right there it would be a bit depressing, but he went on to say, “my words shall not pass away.”

I can get pretty sentimental about the passing of time.  So much so that a child’s tooth falling out causes me to tear up.  I think it is good to be aware of how quickly time passes. But instead of allowing it to stir up sadness in my heart, I am going to allow it to be a reminder of what is permanent and of my need for His Word.

commence….

Tonight my wife and I will take a group of students who are graduating from high school out to dinner.   We will eat at a nice restaurant, then head to one of my favorite places for dessert.  After the eating is done we will reminisce and talk about our favorite memories over the last several years.  Camps, conventions, road trips, bon-fires, break-ups….. lots of memories.  At some point I will ask them what lessons they have learned as they worked their way through high school.  It is always interesting to hear what has impacted their lives and what truths they have managed to pick up along the way.  Sometimes I am thoroughly impressed with the wisdom that comes from some of these young men and women.  It seems to be evenings like the one I will enjoy tonight that remind me how quickly time passes.

They call it commencement but it’s not.  It’s really more of a continuation. Life has been underway for years now and it will continue to flow right by at a rate that, although  I know is steady, seems to always be picking up the pace.  Tonight I will tell them that.  Tonight I will also warn them, and remind myself, of the steady stream of distractions that will attempt to steal their focus from what really matters.  The longer I live, the deeper I realize the truth of what Jesus said in Luke 9.  In verse 23 Jesus tells the crowd that by attempting to cling to one’s life and seeking after temporary things, life will slip through your fingers and be lost. But if you would like to save your life, if you would like to find true life,  it’s accomplished by laying your life down for Him.