Activated - - ACTIVATED - r rde Go van er Pet s rti Cu By Cur­tis Peter van Gorder is a scriptwriter and mime artist5 in Ger­many.

My daugh­ter once asked me if I re­gret­ted de­vot­ing my life to Chris­tian ser­vice.

I an­swered, “No re­grets what­so­ever. The idea has been to work with eter­nity in mind.”

The word “eter­nity” has been pop­u­lar­ized by an amaz­ing guy who passed away in 1967, named Arthur Stace, whose life story has been re­mem­bered in a book, an opera, and a film.

1 Raised in an abu­sive and al­co­holic fam­ily and in­volved in petty crime for the first 45 years of his life, Arthur was a “drunken, good-fornoth­ing derelict,” as de­scribed by his bi­og­ra­pher. All of that changed the day he heard a ser­mon on Isa­iah 57:15: “The high and lofty one who 1. See a short doc­u­men­tary on Arthur Stace here: /w at ch?v=bF7X9aiRH7s. 2. NLT 3. See Psalm 103:15; James 4:14. 4. See here:

/w at ch?v=86ds­fBbZfWs. 5. http://elixir­ lives in eter­nity, the Holy One, says this: ‘I live in the high and holy place with those whose spir­its are con­trite and hum­ble.’”

2 Arthur later said, “Sud­denly I be­gan cry­ing and felt a pow­er­ful call to write the word ‘Eter­nity.’”

He put his hands in his pock­ets and felt a piece of chalk. Though he was il­lit­er­ate and could hardly write his own name, he said when he first wrote it, “the word ‘Eter­nity’ came out smoothly, in a beau­ti­ful cop­per­plate script. I couldn’t un­der­stand it, and I still can’t.”

For the next 28 years, sev­eral times a week, he would leave his house at 5 a.m. to write it in pub­lic places, to re­mind peo­ple who saw it of what re­ally mat­ters in life. He wrote “Eter­nity” in chalk and crayon at least 50 times a day. In the end, he had writ­ten this mag­i­cal and thought-provoking word half a mil­lion times all over the city. He called him­self a “mis­sioner.”

Arthur’s story in­spires us to use what we have, no mat­ter how lit­tle it may seem—even a piece of chalk—to be a force for good in the world.

The Bi­ble says that our life is like the grass, flow­ers, or smoke—that we’re here a lit­tle while and then we’re gone. When I was younger,

3 my life looked like a long, long high­way with no end in sight, but now that I’m 66, I have a deeper un­der­stand­ing.

Dur­ing a speak­ing en­gage­ment, Fran­cis Chan il­lus­trated eter­nity with a very long rope that he brought on to the stage. “Imag­ine,” he said,

4 “that this rope goes on for­ever and il­lus­trates your life in eter­nity.” Then he pointed to a few cen­time­ters of the rope that were colored red: “This would rep­re­sent your time on earth.” Some peo­ple live only for the earthly part of their en­tire ex­is­tence, while dis­re­gard­ing the rest, their eter­nal life. But what we do dur­ing the here and now will echo on in the then and there. That’s what re­ally mat­ters.

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