Bob Tamasy: Is That All There Is?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Why is it some people that seemingly have it all together suddenly forget where they put it? Why do individuals who appear to “have it made” embark on a path of self-destruction, often taking down friends and family members in the process? 

We see it all the time – on T.V., the Internet, newspapers and magazines (for those of us that still read them). Business executives and high-ranking politicians, despite their prominence, influence and huge salaries, experiencing colossal ethical and moral failures. Famed celebrities and professional athletes destroying their lives and careers with drug and alcohol abuse, financial recklessness, violence and boorish behavior. 

But you don’t have to be among the rich and famous to experience such personal calamity: The “perfect couple” that ends in a bitter, acrimonious divorce. The pillar of the community who one day crashes and burns in the flames of indiscretion. The pastor whose walk proves unequal to his talk. 

Years ago, songstress Peggy Lee had a hit tune with the haunting refrain, “Is that all there is?” Perhaps that’s why the rich and famous – along with the not-so-rich and not-so-famous – often seem so miserable. They’ve achieved lofty goals and realized cherished dreams, but it turns out those weren’t what they expected. Unfulfilled and disillusioned, they too start to wonder, “Is that all there is?” 

Recently I saw a video of Francis Chan, a popular preacher and best-selling author (Crazy Love, Multiply) illustrating a key factor in this puzzling phenomenon. In the video, Chan showed his audience a rope that stretched the length of a long stage from which he spoke. He held the end piece of the rope, about three inches long, that had been painted red. 

The rope’s entirety, he said, represented the timeline of one’s eternal existence. (In actuality, the rope would have had to be unending, but Chan was making a point.) The three-inch painted segment represented a person’s lifetime on earth. The problem, according to Chan, is we’re living for the wrong thing. “Some of you,” he said, “all you think about is this red part. You’re consumed with this.” 

What about the rest, Chan asked? “Everyone lives for the red part. No one’s thinking about the millions of years afterward.” 

I think he’s right. What if we viewed earthly life as just a warm-up, and death not as the finish line but as the starting line to a glorious, eternal existence for which this life has been mere preparation? 

We see this described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed…. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed…. Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 

That is a distinctive of the Christian faith, the earnest expectation and hope believers have for life after death. As Titus 2:13 states, “while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” 

Most of the time, however, as in Chan’s example, we concentrate all of our attention and effort on the tip of the rope, ignoring the remainder that extends far beyond view. Is it any wonder that even the most accomplished, most esteemed, most successful among us are prone to one day look around themselves and wonder, “It that all there is?” 

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Steve Ellison: A Matter Of Life And Death

A coaching friend of mine who jumped back and forth from high school to college coaching used to frequently share with me and the young men he was entrusted with about a Scripture passage that he considered to be his life verse. Deuteronomy 30:15-20 had made a tremendous impact on his life and even though I have not spoken with him in several years, I am quite sure that it still ... (click for more)

2 Mormon Apostles To Attend 2017 U.S. Presidential Inauguration

The First Presidency has assigned Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the U.S. presidential inauguration January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Their presence continues a tradition, going back more than a century, of Mormon leadership supporting and celebrating ... (click for more)

Walker Charged With Sunday Night Murder Of Girlfriend In LaFayette

A 29-year-old Walker County man has been charged with murdering his girlfriend, also 29. Sheriff Steve Wilson said David Ryan Walker was charged in the slaying of Candace Ann Hankins. He said she was killed inside a house on Wheeler Road in LaFayette and her body was found in woods behind the house. The sheriff said Walker called relatives to express remorse about the killing. ... (click for more)

Man With Gun Runs From Police At Hamilton Place Mall; Pushes Shoppers Out Of The Way

A man who was found to be armed with a handgun was chased by police early Saturday afternoon. He pushed shoppers out of the way during the pursuit, which included racing down an escalator.   Erwin J. Rogers, 22, of 6111 Nottingham Dr., is facing multiple charges.    Around 1:50 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers working at the Hamilton Place Mall ... (click for more)

Beyond Freedom Of Speech

Yes, most people know about the First Amendment to our Constitution, "The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction."  I being a "deplorable" draw the line when people block traffic, try to disrupt, and even stop an activity through malice and disregard for others. Case being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What Else $3 Can Mean

Orchard Knob Middle School, located on North Highland Park Avenue in Chattanooga, led every other secondary school in the state of Tennessee last year with 6.8 percent of its students expelled. So as people are working feverishly to keep the school from being taken over by the state’s Department of Education, allow me to pose a question. Last Friday during the last period of ... (click for more)