If you are alive you have already fulfilled the first part, but the second part needs to be fulfilled. The dash on your tombstone will represent your time here on earth between birth and death. What you do with your life in that period of time that God has allowed you to be here on earth is up to you.
You can choose the option of sowing wild oats when you are young and then pray that you won't have to reap the harvest. The Bible says what so ever a man sows that will he also reap. It might be to late to pray for a crop failure. Some people are too busy sowing wild oats to think about God. They feel that God would only spoil their fun.
Solomon has a remedy for this in Ecclesiastes 12: “Remember thy creator in the days of thy youth, before you realize that the things that you thought were going to be wonderful turned out to be something of no lasting value.”
Many times our action are surrounded by the excuse that “every one is doing it and I'm just joining the crowd.”
Sowing wild oats is just another way of saying “I like to sin and try to have fun doing it.” The Bible tells us that Moses chose to suffer affliction with the children of God rather than enjoy sin for a season. Sins pleasure only lasts for a short time. Remember sin will take you further than you want to go, sin will cost you more than you want to pay. This is a good thing to write on the inside page of your Bible (if you have one). This book will help keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.
One preacher puts it this way: “Sin does not make us a sinner but we sin because we are a sinner.” That would make sense since Psalm 51, talks about being born in sin.
Adam and Eve were the first sinners and consequently all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23.
People don't like to be called sinners but let us remember that it is God who tells us that we are. No matter how hard we try to climb up to heaven, we can't make it on our own. The idea of living on wild oats just doesn't cut it.
The dash on the tombstone is a reminder that we are in a dash towards eternity.
In John 14:6, we find out that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to the Father but by Him. The apostle Paul had a rough start but when he was converted he changed completely around and ended up writing a large portion of the New Testament.
Close to the end of his dash on this earth he wrote a very important letter to his spiritual son, Timothy. In chapter 4 of 11 Timothy he says, “I am now ready to be offered up and the time of my departure is at hand, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day and not to me only but unto all them that love his appearing. When our day of departure comes and we look back, life will only seem like a dash, a short dash at that.
Rev. Huntley Stewart is a retired minister with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.