I Wasn’t – I am – I Won’t Be

God grants us life. Life is fleeting. A day is coming when we will be gone. What we do between the starting and finish line of life matters. We are here for a purpose. What is that purpose? Are we fulfilling that purpose? We will explore those questions in today’s message. Please read more.

I Wasn’t: We are created creatures. We are not the creator. We were brought into this world by no choice or will of our own. One day we were conceived through a human union. Through God’s will, that union yielded the fruit of our life, and we were born. Before we were formed in the womb, God knew us, and had a plan for us.

I Won’t Be: None of us will be here forever. Clearly it was without our consent that we were brought into the world, and we will one day leave this world without our consent. Job 14:5 reminds us that the days of our life are numbered. We will be taken from this life on our appointed day. Job 14:1-2 says it this way, “Man born of woman is short-lived and full of trouble, like a flower that springs up and fades, swift as a shadow that does not abide.”  God longs for us to be with Him when this life is over.

I am (small case): God alone is the great I AM (all caps)! We are made in His image. Through grace imparted to us at Baptism, we share in God’s divinity. During our life, we are called to bring others to Christ. In between the time I wasn’t and the time I won’t be, is the time that I am alive! Our “I am” is our life, and life is a gift from our Heavenly Father. The way in which we live our life is our gift back to the Father in return for the life He has bestowed on us.

Why am I here? What is the meaning and purpose of life? What is expected of me during the limited number of days of life I have been granted? What comes next when this life, as we know it, ends? These are the perplexing questions of our human existence.

God made each of us, in His image to KNOW, LOVE, and SERVE HIM in this life so that we can be with Him forever in the next. Knowing, loving, and serving, brings a certain responsibility.

Know Him: We grow in knowledge of God in two distinct ways. We grow in knowledge of God in the Words of Scripture, and observe the reality of God revealed in nature. If we do not spend time studying Scripture, we will never truly know God. Sure, there are many good books about God, but it is only in Scripture that we actually read God’s own words.

We also gain knowledge of God by gaining knowledge of ourselves. We need to spend time in silent contemplation. We need to frequently assess our life. We need to do daily examinations. We need to not only acknowledge the good that is in us, but we must truthfully acknowledge the evil that is also in us. A proper and truthful self-examination reveals our utter dependence on God and our absolute need to be saved from ourselves. Without Jesus Christ, salvation is not possible.

Sadly, we often hide our real selves from ourselves. If we refuse to see the breaks, cracks, flaws, and sinfulness in our life, we will be unable to fully appreciate our need for a savior. We cannot fully love Jesus unless we understand how much we need Him. If we cannot acknowledge our need for Jesus we will begin to see ourselves as god. If we don’t understand our need for Jesus we will go on following our own will and not His.

Love Him: No one marries someone without getting to know them first. Likewise, we need to know God in order to love Him. Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” That’s a tall order, and it doesn’t stop there. He also said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” and “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). We were created to love God and others!

One final note on love. Earlier I said we gain knowledge of God by gaining knowledge of self. When we grow in love of God, we learn to love ourselves better too. God loves us knowing we are broken. We must love like He does.

Serve Him: It is vital that we profess our faith in Jesus Christ. But to be a Christian requires more than mere lip service. We all know actions speak louder than words. It is through our actions that we make real the faith in Christ that we profess with our lips.

It is unfortunate that there is a division among Christians over James 2:17 which states, “So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” To be clear, it is our faith in Christ that saves us! We cannot work our way into Heaven. But, we must remember that faith is made manifest in our actions. James 2:18 tells us we demonstrate our faith through our works. John 13:35 states, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Having faith means we must live it out! Many defendants have stood in the courtroom and professed with their lips their innocence, but the actions that landed them in the courtroom have proven them guilty. They may attest to their innocence with their lips, but their actions prove them guilty of murder and lead to their conviction and incarceration. Will our actions convict us of being followers of Jesus Christ?

I believe that faith and works work in unison. Our works put flesh on the bones of our professed faith in Jesus Christ. How we live proves the profession of faith that we make with our lips. We must live as He has commanded us to live. We must walk in His footsteps.

We have been granted life for the purpose of loving God, loving others, and growing God’s Kingdom. We serve God by serving those most in need. We serve God by seeking out the lost and broken and leading them home to the Father. We serve God by leading others to Jesus Christ, who alone can save them from their sins. Our modern culture tells us it’s all about “ME.” We were not granted life to be “me” focused. Our focus should be oriented to God and others.

So we end where we started. Before I was born, I wasn’t. There will come a time on this earth that I won’t be. Right now, I am! When our time in this world is over, we will have to give an accounting for our “I am” time.  On that day, will we be able to say that we have known, loved and served the Lord?

I will close with one line from the poem The Dash by Linda Ellis. The poem speaks about the dash between the date of birth and the date of death on a tombstone. She writes, “For it matters, not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash. What matters is how we live in love and how we spend our dash.”

Heavenly Father, Matthew 16:27 tells us, “the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to you. Help me to fulfill the purpose for which I was created. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

To watch Lind Ellis read the “The Dash” click the link below:

AMDG

As always, I love to hear from you. You can email by clicking here. To share your thoughts with other readers, please use the comment section below.


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8 Comments

  1. Diana Parker on August 16, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    Brian,
    As always a poignant reflection today. It especially touched my heart as I lost a very dear friend this weekend. The addition of “The Dash” really re-enforced your message.
    Diana

    • Brian Pusateri on August 16, 2023 at 12:52 pm

      Diana

      I am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Thank you for your post. Hopefully those that see this post can see a prayer for your friend.

      Brian

  2. Paul Coletta on August 15, 2023 at 8:40 am

    Love the letter this week. I guess the only thing I would add is not only do we
    “We gain knowledge of God by gaining knowledge of ourselves.”, but we mostly gain knowledge of ourselves by gaining knowledge of God. I’ve given up trying to know myself without the intervention of the Lord.

  3. Dave Fechtman on August 15, 2023 at 8:14 am

    Great letter, Brian. Thank you! I’m glad you’re doing well, my friend.

    • Brian Pusateri on August 15, 2023 at 8:33 am

      Dave

      Thanks you. I hope all is well for you and your family.

      Brian

  4. Bob Davs on August 15, 2023 at 8:01 am

    Brian,

    This is excellent! I am not sure I’ve ever heard the expression of “I wasn’t, I am, and I won’t be” before. I have heard the the poem “ The Dash” before. Both are very simple ways to remember profound truths. I thank God that you are and for how you are living your dash!

    Peace!
    Bob Davis

    • Brian Pusateri on August 15, 2023 at 8:32 am

      Bob

      I must give credit for the “I wasn’t, I am, and I won’t be” to the Holy Spirit. It came to me in prayer last week and I felt compelled to write about it. Thanks for your post.

      Brian

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