Ok, this week is the last in this burst based on Ravi Zacharias' presentation "Growing Through Our Disciplines" (I think that's the first time I put the title in here). Here again are the links, again to the fifteen minute edits part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4. So far, the 'tudes that have been discussed were solitude, gratitude, and certitude. This week's 'tude is finitude. Spellcheck doesn't like it, and even I thought Ravi may have made it up, but a couple of different dictionaries pull it up as a scholarly word, one that means exactly what it sounds like, simply the state of being finite.
A knee-jerk reaction to this might be simply responding that we are not finite, our souls will live forever. That is true, and not the direction this 'tude goes. The finitude here refers to our lives and time here on earth, and what we do with that. Ravi quotes C.S. Lewis with the line "We do not have a soul, we are a soul. We have a body." That soul will go into eternity, based on the actions of this body, during this body's finite time in the world. I've been getting the newsletter from Voice Of The Martyrs for several years now, as well as keeping up with email and twitter lists from them, and it never ceases to amaze me the handle that some people have on this finitude, even if I didn't have that word to attach to it yet. In parts of the world, believers have to hike miles into the woods to have Church services in order to avoid severe harassment, imprisonment, torture and/or death. They risk their bodies here to tell others about Jesus, knowing that even if that act does cost them their body, it's just the finitude they knew had to dealt with.
How many of you were believers in school, be it public or college? That was a finite opportunity to touch a lot of people, wasn't it? Yes, lots of our Facebook and Twitter friends are old school buddies, but think about the masses that you were immersed in every day in that period, even if it was a small school. Moving forward, to present day, think about your work, that 50 hour a week commitment that replaced school as the major time consumer in life. How many people do you interact with there? How many have disappeared from there, quitting, moving, being promoted, laid off, whatever the reason, their finitiude had passed yours. Did you use that crossing of paths? Did you put it off until tomorrow? Some of those persecuted believers I mentioned aren't the only ones in their countries facing a shortened finitude, and that person they choose not to speak to today may be another mark on a list in a dark prison by tomorrow.
Dealing with spiritual life and prayer, finitude is the fuse we have burning. As believers, we know that once that fuse burns up, we have infinity to worship and fellowship with God. We don't have infinity to let others know, to leave and live a legacy that will outlast our own finitude. Properly using our own limited time is the fuel for this life, as are the other three 'tudes from this series. Solitude gets us in communication with God, filling our spiritual tank for whatever lies ahead, be it growth, attack, or even a streak of the mundane. Certitude keeps the motor running, knowing that there is a final goal, and the potholes and roadblock here won't matter, only how we handle them will. Gratitude makes those hard times easier to handle, and makes the good times praise to God, not blocks of pride.