My parents are buried in a cemetary some three hours from my current home. My wife and I try to make it to their gravesite at least twice a year to make sure that there are flowers on the stones. Every time we go I look long and hard at their tombstone. It reads, "William Nelson Kelley; February 17,1921 - March 25,1998; Dorothea Margaret Kelley; January 6,1923 - December 14,2002." I lived with my parents for the first twenty-one years of my life. I remember all the things that we did during that time period as well as all the things we did after that time period. It's amazing to see all that history condensed into that little mark; that dash. 50 years of history in a - .

My parents lives were more than a simple dash. The people they affected during their lives, those they helped and blessed; they are more than a dash. So here's the question of the week; "Is your life more than a dash?" Think hard about that question. We live in a highly mobile, technology driven society which demands that no one ever be accused of relaxing. We get up in time to dash to work. We dash home in time to go to a sporting event with our children or to a social function with friends. We dash home and spend time on the internet checking emails or tending to our blogs or MySpace site. I don't know. Maybe a dash IS more appropriate than we might think as a fitting summary for our lives.

If that insults you...good. Get your righteous anger fired up. But don't do it just to be insulted. Do it to take a long look at your life. What are the components of your life to which you need to tend? Family? You betcha! Work? Uh-huh. Friends? Unless you plan on losing them. Self? Yeppers. God? If you have the time. In that dash of our lives, God is most often given the leftovers. If God had treated us that way, Judas Iscariot would have been sent to the cross and we would still be lost in our sins. The dash that is our lives makes much more sense and takes on a more measured gait when God is placed first.

"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33 The whole "family, work, friends, self" thing falls into perspective a lot more easily when God is the beginning rather than an afterthought. I was fortunate to be raised by parents whose desire for me was to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Because they chose that for me to have available to me I came under the infuence of a number of people who helped to shape my life. My family, my work, my friends and my self are all what they are today because of that. What impact I have had on the lives of others has been what it is because I was taught to seek God first.

A couple of items for consideration with that dash thing. When your life is a dash you don't attend church services. It is so much easier (and quicker; it is a dash, you know) to accept the excuse that you need to sleep in one day a week, they're all hypocrites anyway...feel free to insert your answer. It takes time to be an encourager for others who are trying to make their own lives more than a dash and church offers that contact point to do so. The other item is fairly simple. No one ever impacted the lives of others as dramatically or beneficially as did Jesus. The only thing He ever truly seemed anxious to do was die for us. Everything else He took at a pace with others in mind. When your memorial stone goes into place, what will be represented by your dash?