How Long is a Good Life?

“Slaying victim had a strong faith, heart.” The headline blurred as I choked back tears over the  story in the Dallas News, March 4, 2003.

The 29-year-old was returning to his Cedar Hill home early Saturday after shuttling church friends around the city when a gunman shot and killed him in what police and friends say was a random slaying….He had been shot once in the head.

Marcus’s picture stared back at me. News of his death rocked our tight-knit department.

A 6′ 3″ Tennessee Tech linebacker, we dubbed him our “gentle giant.” He found Christ at 14 years old and never stopped living his faith. Words of encouragement for the troubled, acts of kindness for the challenged. Adopting a fatherless five-year-old as his “little brother,” serving as a leader and role model in the young men’s ministry.

When cleaning out his desk, I found one last note he wrote. “What do I want to do? Help others turn their potential into reality.” Yet Saturday morning, a single bullet ended that dream on a lonely stretch of highway.

As I sat in Marcus’s memorial service, his pastor asked the question on everyone’s mind: “How can I or anyone make sense of such a senseless death? I prayed, ‘God, I don’t know what to say to family and friends who gather tomorrow in memory of Marcus. What message can his death possibly have for us?’ “

The minister scanned his audience. “God said to me, ‘March 4th.’ “

He cocked his head and wrinkled his brow as he preached on. “March 4th? Okay, but what message can I deliver? And God said, ‘March 4th. March Forth.’ “

Marcus marched forth to fulfill his mission, to help others turn potential into reality. And for those he touched, it was now our turn. Today, I post to honor his memory and example. Marcus left a legacy the minister summarized in his closing words.

“A long life might not be good enough, but a good life is always long enough. “

Marcus led a good life. And we who mourn, celebrate his life and March Forth.

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:35-36, NIV).

©2011 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.


About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
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