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Vantage point


Cancer

I recently learned I have cancer. The way I look at it has been changed forever.

I have walked with countless people through their cancer experiences. Church members, close friends, relatives. Cancer claimed the life of my father.

But now it is I. I have had an outpouring of support and prayer, as well as a surfeit of well-meaning advice.

Three things came to me the instant I heard:

1. My wife: Peggy and I have served the Lord together for 28 years. She has walked with me through a four-year illness already. I know it will be harder on her than on me.

2. All of my relatives and friends who don’t know the Lord: There are many in this category. If my voice fell silent, who would reach them?

3. Time: What would I choose to do if I found out my time was limited? I can’t waste time. No matter what lies ahead, I need to work on the most important things.

I have not been told my time is short; my prognosis is good. I know that God is in control and He’s still able and willing to heal. Still, my priorities have changed. Tons of things that were important to me suddenly carry no attraction. Things of eternal value are more real.

I admire those ministers who never quit, like E.M. Clark and Ralph Harris, two of our Fellowship’s elder statesmen, who are still touching lives at 90 and 89 respectively. I have pictured myself in this category — going full bore for Jesus well into my 80s.

But I do not appoint the number of my days. And length of life is not what matters. Each of us has a given time on earth, known only to God. We must make that time count.

My good friend Jim Gardiner, who shared my exact birthday and died of cancer three years ago, put this into perspective when facing death. "It’s not how long my life is that really matters," he said. "It’s whether it’s fruitful, whether it really brings forth sheaves to the glory of the Lord. … Have we done what we are purposed to do?"

Life is precious. It is a gift from God and it must not be used (or taken) selfishly. We must not waste whatever time the Lord gives us. We must drain every ounce of time and energy from life’s cup, and leave nothing undone that God has called us to do.

That’s what I intend to do.

—Ken Horn

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