After Your Last Breath
On the evening, August 12, 2010, the news came through my email of the name of one of the missionary workers killed by the Taliban the week before in Afghanistan, Brian Carderelli. The report stated that he was a Christian and a member of a PCA Church in Harrisonburg, Va. who had been serving some of the other medical missionaries since last September by documenting their efforts through his videography & photography skills. Though I didn’t know this young man personally, my heart grieved for his sorrowing family & church.
As I thought of what we would refer to as his “untimely death”, that all too familiar & often avoided scripture, “It is appointed unto man once to die & after that the judgment,” rushed to mind . I thought, through my tears, of what Brian might have been doing up to the moment of his last breath. No doubt he had been busy about kingdom work, seeking to implement his less than one year old digital video degree from James Madison University to aid in presenting a message that would glorify God by increasing a burden for the health & souls of the Afghan people. I’m sure he had lots of footage & photos, but in an instant, it was all left behind & God called him home.
I thought of my own life, a lover of photography myself, and the 25,000 photos on my computer and my desk & shelves strewn with pictures, papers, CDs, books & Bible study notes. I was reminded that I, too, will take my last breath, probably when I least expect it, and what will remain to show for the life I have lived? What will soon be gladly discarded? What will be kept & treasured? And more importantly, what treasures have I “laid up in heaven?”
As Christians, every calling is a high calling from God; missionaries, farmers, plumbers, businessmen, teachers, mothers - none is less honorable than another. But how we spend each day & every breath is a calling that should sober us – not momentarily as we share in someone else’s sorrow – but in an ongoing effort to leave behind very little of that which “moth & rust will destroy & thieves will break in & steal,” but to leave a godly legacy, whether by reputation or documentation, or both, so that after our last breath, our great store of kingdom treasures will shine brightly in our loved ones’ hour of darkness & sorrow.
Judy Rogers August 12, 2010