The Most Important
Who You Think
I recently attended the memorial service of an acquaintance whose death was a shock to everyone. She was quite young. She left two school aged children and a husband who loved her. In fact, everyone loved her. The service was packed, standing room only, which says a lot about the impression she made on folks.
While sitting in the service it occurred to me that we don’t know when or how death might come knocking and it would behoove us all to ask and answer the question:
If I were to die tomorrow and knew it today, what would I consider the most important thing in my life in the present?
My first thought was, that’s a great topic for a sermon, but after thinking about it a bit my enthusiasm was flattened. My original idea wasn’t to think up a collection of Most-Important issues from which you could make a selection. Take some, leave some. I was focused on the ABSOLUTELY most important things for every person. The list I wanted to write included only imperatives. No possibles or maybes.
And you’re probably thinking the same question that occurred to me. How can you say that? We’re all different.
But then I thought again and realized there are a few things that are Most-Important for everyone. Let me explain.
The Most Important Time In Your Life
Before we get to the most important person, let’s focus on the most important time for a moment – no pun intended. The most important time in your life never changes and never moves. Time passes but the most important time never does.
The most important time is Now! It’s always Now. You’ll never have the past again and when the future arrives it is now. When one now moment passes, another now takes its place.
Now is the only time I have. It’s also the only time you have and that makes it the most important time in every life. Not only is Now the most important time for every person, it also happens at exactly the same time for everyone.
Look at your watch. You may be in a different time zone but your now is still my now too.
And if you think of memory as an aftertastes, then treating Now moments properly also has the added benefit of making your past more memorable.
Now is the seedbed of the future. If I die tomorrow the only thing that will matter is what I did with each past now.
The Most Important Person In Your Life
Here is where we get to the point of the post title.
In principle, the most important person in anyone’s life is the same for everyone, although it’s rarely the same person and is always changing.
Confused yet? Let me clarify.
The most important person in your life is not the most helpful person. It’s not the one you love the most or the one who’s the most loveable.
This person is not the most appreciated or beautiful or talented or amazing. These people may on occasion be the most important person but it’s never because of these heart warming qualities.
The most important person in your life is easily identified and simply defined. It’s whoever happens to be in view.
That person. The one you can see and touch. The one who can hear you and be heard by you. That is the most important person in your life, whoever it might be at any given moment.
I’m not saying this person is lovable. They may be horrible but the fact remains, they are the most important person in your life. How you treat that person. How you respond and how you act toward them could be the difference between starting a feud or making a friend.
I didn’t say you have to agree with them. You don’t need to acquiesce. But you can leave them feeling heard and to some degree important.
It may be a close friend. It may be a family member. It may be someone in the larger community. Maybe someone you’ve never met. The most-important-person spot will change as you move in and out of these social circles, but whoever’s in your face is the most important person.
The object is to leave them feeling like they were important even if you don’t agree.
One thing for sure. If you don’t leave the person you can see feeling respected, you will convince very few people that you respect the ones you can’t see.