Disciple Up #213
“Living On Borrowed Time”
By Louie Marsh, 6-2-2021
In all my years of ministry I’ve never known anyone who better exemplified the old saying, “living on borrowed time” than Dennis.
We’re here to remember and honor Dennis.
- Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 1 Thess. 4:13
- Grief is alright – in fact it’s good!
1, Paul didn’t say not to grieve, just that our grief should be different. Why?
2, Because in Jesus Christ we have HOPE!
3, This kind of Hope is ours because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7–8, ESV)
- Take advantage of his last gift to you – his life. Learn from him, follow his good example, and learn from his mistakes, it’s what he would want all of us to do. This is the last gift anyone can give, let us make good use of his memory and example as we move forward in our lives.
Story of when I first met them – Christie shy hiding behind Helen, she’s not shy anymore!
They starting to come to our church and stuck with us after I became the Pastor – don’t know why given my sermons!! I watched both of them grow spiritually and got to know them.
It was always Dennis and Helen. The only time I heard people speak of them separately was when they were only referring to one of them. Like how calm and wise Dennis was, or, “Oh that Helen, wow is she short!”
The BIG event, Dennis’ first heart problems and by-pass. He wasn’t supposed to live for that long and I remember thinking then that he was living on borrowed time.
As time went on I noticed a pattern that seemed to develop. Things would ok for a while, then issues would crop up and after a while a crisis. Everything was on the line and God in his goodness allowed his doctors and nurses to perform seeming miracles. He’s come through and because he apparently had good credit with the Lord Dennis would get more borrowed time from the Lord.
This went on for years and there were people all over the place praying for this guy Dennis who they had never met. I wonder if he knew, or if the family ever considered, just how many people Dennis motivated to pray and pray hard. Tell Story of my church. Then God would graciously loan Dennis some more time and the cycle continued.
Time passed, his family grew and grew and we all got older, and Dennis, the Energizer Bunny of heart patients, just kept on going. The road was bumpy for sure, but God kept extending His Grace to Dennis and he just kept on living on borrowed time.
But we were always very aware of just how fragile his health was. God was teaching us a profoundly important truth that James talks about:
“14yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14, ESV)
“5For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, ESV) We al know we’re going to die, and most of us spend the vast majority of our lives desperately trying to ignore that fact.
Dennis couldn’t do that, and neither could those of us who loved him. God often grants wisdom through suffering and through Dennis’ suffering we were being offered something important. “12So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, ESV)
This doesn’t mean to figure out the date you’re going to die, it means to understand how brief and precious life is and live it to the full. To never forget that your living on borrowed time.
I think Dennis did that. In the end he died on the birthdate of his oldest daughter, and his memorial service is today – Memorial Day. A day set aside to specifically honor those who died for our country, but we also honor all who have served or are serving, and Dennis served in the Marine Corps.
The Finish Line – By Steve Taylor, 1993
The vision came
He saw the odds
A hundred little gods on a gilded wheel
“These have tried to take your place, but Father,
by your grace I will never kneel
I will never kneel…”
Off in the distance
Bloodied but wise
As you squint with the light of the truth in your eyes
And I saw you
Both hands were raised
And I saw your lips move in praise
And I saw you steady your gaze
For the finish line
Every idol like dust
A word scattered them all
And I rose to my feet when you scaled the last wall
And I gasped
When I saw you fall
In his arms
At the finish line – Oh, the Finish Line
In the end Dennis, battered, bruised and weary, fell across the finish line into the arms of Jesus. When he did so he knew he had won the race of life. He is out time now and lives in eternity with God and has left us a message that took decades prepare. So let us honor him by never forgetting that we are – all of us – living on borrowed time.
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