Here is my second point:
2. You may need many Frasier moments to keep you working on your legacy.
Now, what do I mean when I say a Frasier moment?
Have a look at this clip:
Sitting comfortably in his apartment he is suddenly watching a news item announcing his death.
So in the clip we see Frasier:
- Confronted with his own death.
- Reading his own obituary.
- Looking back over his life with regret and mentioning the things he’d hoped to achieve but hadn’t.
- Being reminded by Ros that he hadn’t died and so it wasn’t to late to accomplish his dreams.
- Seeing the whole incident as a wake up call.
- Renewed determination to change and accomplish more from then on.
- Finally we see him enthusiastically rush to start this new life only to be stopped in his tracks by the first obstacle, a rain storm. He was obviously not committed to his commitments!
One of the key proven ways to bring perspective into life and a realigning of priorities is to be confronted with scenarios similar to the Frasier moment I just mentioned.
a) A few year ago when the men in the church had a Saturday morning bacon butty breakfast get together during which we had David Ollerton down as our speaker. The first exercise we had to do was draw a picture of a grave stone and write on it what we would like to be remembered for, construct our own epitaph. This is on the one hand a sobering exercise but on the other hand can be a life transforming moment.
b) In one of the most popular and widely read business books of the last 15 years, the readers are asked very early on to imagine themselves turning up to their own funeral. They are sitting in the back listening to what family and friends are remembering them for.
The book is named The 7 habits of highly effective people, and the second habit states:
“Begin with the end in mind”
c) A book that I bought half a dozen of when it came out, recounts the exercise one church took of asking their members to live as though they had one month to live! This book is well worth reading. It’s a call to live life as it is meant to be lived and away from living with regrets.
d) On the course I attend periodically one of the most impactful sessions that we did in the workshop was one known as Absolutely Unacceptable Regrets.
The starting point is to answer the question: “At the end, what would be the 5 regrets that you absolutely don’t want to have about your life?” We then worked through the exercise to find out how we could systematically and emphatically remove the potential of those becoming regrets.
Matthew Henry had a saying which said: “It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day”.
It wouldn’t surprise me if there were some people here thinking to themselves, these are just silly, modern manipulative pointless exercises that don’t deserve another moment of my time!
Such methods however are not new. The passage read out earlier from Luke does exactly the same thing. Jesus was regularly confronting people directly and through parables with the fact of death. These were challenges about prioritising and preperation.
“Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’
20″Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’
21″That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.”
“Show me, LORD, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.” Psalm 39