The Rest of Your Life
I am a big fan of the Old West. I love the stories of cowboys and gunslingers. These people who seemed to be bigger than life added so much to my youth as I read about the heroes and the villains of this time period. I have sat enthralled, watching numerous movies about Tombstone and the history behind America’s most famous gunfight at the OK Corral. The characters who were part of that event made their own mark on the history of the West—and not all for the good.
There are a number of stories about these men. Some of it is fact while a lot of it is based on legends which seem to grow bigger as the years go by. Bill O’Reilly wanted to find the real truth and set on the journey of separating fact from fiction in his book titled Legends and Lies: The Old West. I haven’t read the book yet but have seen the TV shows based on a few of the stories of the book. One of my favorite is Doc Holliday.
Born August 14, 1851, John Henry “Doc” Holliday was trained in the dental field which gave him his nickname. At age 15, he lost his mother to tuberculosis. Not long after his mother had passed away, he began coming down with some of the same symptoms. Since doctors told him the dry southwest would help with his disease, he headed west. Because he could no longer handle the duties of dentist, he took up gambling as a profession. It was with that “profession” and the numerous accusations of cheating that he made his reputation with a gun and a deck of cards. Gambling and fighting instead of dentistry became the path he chose.
We have all heard the expression “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” It can be a motivating expression or one of depression depending on how we see it. If we see our lives as going nowhere with nothing positive in sight, then we may look at our future as just a monotonous continuation of our past. However, if we take the opposite approach, we will look at today as the beginning of a journey whose path we will decide.
Yes, we decide. Today we can look at how far we have come and get excited over the road ahead of us—or we can look at where we have come from and convince ourselves there is no future for us other than who we already are. I choose the first option and I hope you do too.
We serve a God of endless possibilities; the more we trust Him, the more our lives will be led down roads of new adventure. What will you do with the remainder of days you have here on earth? We don’t know how long we have. We only know that time is fleeting and if we are going to accomplish anything, we had better get started.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians about this very attitude. He wrote: “So be careful to live your life wisely, not foolishly. Take advantage of every opportunity because these are evil times. Because of this, don’t be ignorant, but understand the Lord’s will” (Ephesians 5:15-17, CEB).
We are the ones who choose how we are going to live our lives. We can live them selfishly for ourselves or in service to others. We could be like Doc Holliday and spend our end days in lawful disobedience, gambling and fighting our lives away, or we could be a positive force in our world. Just think what help Holliday could have been in those frontier days had he continued on with his work in dentistry!
Yes, Doc Holliday is remembered today—but for what? Is he remembered for the good he brought to the world around him or the sorrow he caused with his carelessness and “it’s-all-about-me” attitude? We might enjoy learning about that time in history but we certainly don’t want to live in those times of lawlessness. It is up to us to decide how we will live our lives and be remembered for all times.
Be careful how you live your life because you only get one chance to make it right. Will you be like Doc Holliday and live your life foolishly or follow Paul’s advice and live your life wisely based on God’s will? Take advantage of every opportunity you have to be the best you can be. God created each of us for such a time as this—so take what He has gifted you and make the most of it. You never know what exciting things ahead God might have planned for you!
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