A Lesson from Mandela

December 27, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Peter Lundell –

Presidents, prime ministers and royalty from around the world came to pay tribute at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, held in a soccer stadium.

People carried banners that bore a close-up of his face. On the left, his birth year (1918). On the right, instead of the date of his death was the word “eternity.” In people’s minds he didn’t entirely die in 2013. He passed into eternity.

I’m not talking about theology of salvation here. I’m talking about how a person can live such a life on this earth as to be regarded to not die as much as to pass into eternity and still live on as a beacon of inspiration.

The irony is that the man spent twenty-seven years in prison. During the prime of his life. Breaking limestone boulders into gravel. By hand.

Many of us go around with full schedules trying to do everything we can to make the most of life. Busy. We’re so busy.

And this world-renowned inspirational leader was off on a prison island doing hard labor.

He was there because he was the primary leader of resistance to Apartheid. Yes, he was busy fighting the government before he went to prison, but his impact had little to do with how much

he got done each day or week or month or year. His value lay in who he was. And what he did about it, by suffering in prison for so long and by forgiving his captors and forging peace after he was released.

What would happen if each of us focused our lives twice as much on something valuable and reduced our busyness by half as much?

I’m thinking about my life. What would happen in yours? Of course the world around you would resist such a change. But if you did so, what would happen?

Prayer: Lord, You have given me one life. Work in me to focus it well, to do what I was most created to do—and not get sidetracked or seduced by busy stuff.

“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4 NIV).

About Peter Lundell

Peter Lundell, author of Prayer Power and other books, is a writer, pastor, and Bible college teacher. At www.PeterLundell.com you can see his books, subscribe to his inspirational “Connections,” and get free downloads of many articles, parables, and short stories.
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