I hope you will indulge me as I reminisce a little today. “Life can pass us by like a warm summer day”. That’s what happened to Johnny in the 1975 song SHOOTING STAR by the group Bad Company. The song tells the story of a young boy who grows up to be a rock star, but succumbs to rock and roll excess and dies of a drug and alcohol overdose. Perhaps there is a message in this old song for all of us. If we chase after the wrong things in life, things don’t usually end well. Please read more…..
In this song, young Johnny was found dead with a bottle of whiskey and sleeping pills on his night stand. As we all know, the music industry is littered with casualties of excess: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Whitney Houston just to name a few. I believe the song writer was writing a warning for his own industry but I think there is a message here that we all should heed. I mentioned Whitney Houston in the list above. Her life makes me reflect on the lyrics in one of her songs when she sang: “Didn’t we almost have it all.” The reality of life is this: we can strive for the things of this life and lose everything that is most important to us.
Look what is written in Matthew 16:24-26: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”
This world passes by so quickly. It doesn’t seem long ago that I was living on the 23rd floor in my Lincoln Tower dorm room at Ohio State University playing my air guitar to the song Shooting Star. Now at age 60, I hope I have a better and more God oriented perspective on life.
As I write this, I am riding in the car with my wife as she drives us to Rosendale New York to put on an all-day retreat at St. Peter’s parish. We are driving with Pandora playing on the car radio. I was singing along with this old familiar Bad Company tune when my mind drifted to the swiftness of time. I felt compelled to pull out my iPad and write these thoughts down.
A lot of water has gone over the dam since my OSU days. I was nineteen years old, planning to be married the following year. Now forty years later, all five of our children are older than I was then. I have had the blessing of forty years of marriage, five children and seven grandchildren. Things look different now when viewed through the rear view mirror of my life.
Many worldly things that seemed so important to me then have come and gone. Many family members, friends and life mentors have already passed away. I have had my share of success and failure. I have tried to follow God during my life and yet sadly, I have, at times, chased after the allures of this world too.
I know it is a cliché but time passes quickly. Life can resemble a shooting star. Has yours been that way? The Bible says that life is like a puff of smoke, here and quickly gone. James 4:14
So we now must ask ourselves these questions: Am I truly grounded in the things that matter or am I chasing after fame, fortune and fun? Am I prepared for the date when my star will finally burn out? Am I really? Am I willing every day to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Jesus? If I am, then I can sing with confidence the words from the old hymn: “IT IS WELL, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.”
As you read this, can you sing, with confidence, the words: “It is well with my soul?” If not, make the necessary changes today, before your life becomes another casualty on the list of shooting stars. Ask God to send His spirit to guide you now and always.
Heavenly Father I know that life passes by quickly. I know too that you are calling me home to eternal life with. Yet so many days I get distracted by this world. Send your Spirit to guide me and keep me in the palm of your hand, amen.
I want to extend my thanks to the great people at St. Peter’s parish in Rosendale, NY. I was truly blessed to spend time with you this past weekend. I pray that you will all BE THE DOOR through which others can enter to encounter Christ.
Now is the time to book retreats at your parish/church for 2018. If you are looking for someone to speak or lead a retreat I would love to speak with you. Click here to inquire. Here is one testimonial from this past retreat: