I have lived my life boiled down to one simple quote: Nicolaus Zinzendorf’s ‘Preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten’ as to shine light on the meaning of 1 Corinthians 2:2 in my life. All of my studies and all of my toiling and to a much larger, unavoidable influence, the way that I love and live my life, are all wrapped in up that one little quote. It is a quote that I have mediated much on and it is a now philosophy I cannot let go. I am shaken to the core by it.
Often I ask myself, ‘What else am I suppose to do? Not preach the gospel? Not die? Not be forgotten?‘ To which I always answer myself, ‘Impossible!’.
Then I run into this quote:
My question—that which at the age of fifty brought me to the verge of suicide—was the simplest of questions, lying in the soul of every man… a question without an answer to which one cannot live. It was: “What will come of what I am doing today or tomorrow? What will come of my whole life? Why should I live, why wish for anything, or do anything?” It can also be expressed thus: Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?
– Leo Tolstoy, A Confession, as quoted in The Reason for God by Tim Keller.
If I allow it, I could be haunted by Tolstoy. Let me think about when I am fifty—less than 13 years from now. Dying and be forgotten out of my control. But preaching the gospel? Let me mediate on the distinct possibility of never getting to preach, week in and week out. Let me dwell on the fact that I will never get to preach even just once. Let me think about never getting to teach and thus, never getting the opportunity to present the gospel of Christ.
It would be weird to go 13 more years and not be there. However, the sheer fact is that I have nothing else I can do. That is all I want to do. Day in and day out. Just do that.
So what if I don’t. Ah, but I have. A few times. God was so good to me and so loving to others that I got to do a little. And I will remember those times fondly. And I will look forward to the day when we won’t have to proclaim the gospel because I will be joyously satisfied seeing my Lord and God face-to-face.
The question might get asked, ‘How will you feel 13 years from now?’ To which I have to confidently answer: it won’t matter how I feel because I will have the Spirit of God dwelling in my heart and in my soul. He will always be with me from now until eternity no matter I how I feel, think, or do. My hope is not in my life, success of my marriage, the raising of my kids, or the success of my career but my hope is in perfect Christ alone. Because I hope in Him, I have hope for my life and loves.
Is it enough? Absolutely.