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IN THE END, WHAT IS IT THAT HONESTLY, REALLY MATTERS?


When I was a student chaplain at a hospital in Philadelphia, I spent a great deal of my time in the geriatric wing. The general routine was to start the shift by checking in with all the patients on the floor to see if anyone needed to talk or pray about things.


The women always wanted to talk, and the men, they were so predictable. On the first day I would stick my head in the door of a man's room and say hello. We would have some small chit-chat and then very soon, I would be ushered out to, "help someone in greater need". On the second day I would stick my head in the door and I would get the wave, "Doing alright son, have a good day." Then, on the third day things would be different. By this time the men had taken the tests they came in for and had been given "the news" by their doctors, which usually was very bad news.


On the third day I always knew the visit to these men was going to be a long visit. I would stick my head in and say hello and the response was always the same – silence. Usually, they would be looking out the window or looking at nothing at all. I would pull up a chair, and just wait; in a few moments they would start talking.


You know, these men rarely talked about their illness, or even about the treatments ahead. They always talked about life, the things they did, both with great satisfaction and great regret. They would talk about this person and that person, and finally always, I mean always, they would wonder, that in the end, what is it that honestly, really matters?


Finally, God has the Hebrews' attention. Finally, God has them where He wants them. Now they have to stop and consider: In the end, what is it that honestly, really matters?


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