Earlier today I was listening to part one of Alistair Begg’s message “Sent, Sold, Sad, Safe” from his The Hand of God series about Joseph. Joseph is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. In Genesis 37:14, Jacob asks his 17-year-old son Joseph to check on the well-being of his brothers and the flocks and then report back to him. Little did Jacob know that he wouldn’t see his dear son again for 20 long years. Twenty years before he got another hug, heard Joseph’s voice, enjoyed his fellowship and the warmth of his company. Begg speculates that Jacob watched Joseph for a long while as his son walked away, and that Joseph turned back to look at his father often.
Begg says that there is a last time for every journey. You’ll never know the last time you will kiss your wife. You’ll never know the last time you’ll kiss your Mom goodbye. He tells us that it is good to make much of our partings.
That got me to thinking how we handle good-byes. We’ve had a number of people move away from church, and specifically our small group, over the past few years. I have to admit that I hate good-byes. Although happy for those that are moving, because they are happy, it is still a loss for us. A loss of relationship. Facebook just doesn’t cut it. My wife won’t even say “Good Bye” in such instances. It’s just too sad. Instead, she says “See you later”.
Another example of this for me was saying good-bye to so many work friends when I retired last year. I knew that there was a good chance that I’d never see many of them again, especially those located in other cities, and it made me emotional.
Most of us probably take our good-byes pretty casually. And yet, one day, in each relationship, there will be a final time, a final good-bye. That thought has come to me more as I’ve gotten older, and family members and friends have gotten older or moved away. Maybe you’ve thought about that too.
I can still remember leaving my childhood home after visits. My Mom would come outside, stand on the front step, watch us leave and wave. My dear mother-in-law does that today as well.
A few years ago, my father-in-law died. My wife and one of her sisters had just had a very good visit with him. He was sharp, alert and in a great mood. When they left their parents’ home that morning, they didn’t know it would be the last time they would see him. We need to make much of our partings.
This is a good reminder – don’t forget to tell those close to you that you love them. Do it often. When you kiss your spouse good-bye in the morning, tell them that you love them. When you send your kids off to school in the morning tell them that you love them. Tell your friends how much you care about them and how much they mean to you.
How will you plan to make much of your partings?