A while back we had to replace the tires on the two buses. To the tune of $1,600. Ouch!

But it had to be done. The tires were 8 years old and had reached the end of their life.

We discovered that when one of them went flat. After looking at all of the tires, we saw that the tread was coming away from the sides.

Although we have used the buses, the tires were all going flat because of dry rot. They had reached the end of their life, and we had not used them enough to wear them out.

Everything has a life span. Eight years can be what’s expected from the tires on the bus. The Bible tells us that we have life spans, too.

“Seventy years, maybe eighty if we’re strong,” is the way the Bible puts it (Psalm 90:10), and even then it tells us those years go by too quickly. I was thinking about this and our lives on earth as the buses were re-tired. It seems to me that there are two ways of living our lives: one where we are barely used and we end our days in dry rot, and the other where we are used up at the end, worn out.

I was thinking about this in terms of my life for Christ. Which will it be: dry rot or used up? Two other people came to mind as I was thinking about this. First was Jack London, the author of “The Call of the Wild,” “White Fang” and “The Sea-Wolf.” Here’s his credo, his rule for his life that he wrote early on: I would rather be ashes than dust!

I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot.

I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.

The function of man is to live, not to exist.

I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.

I shall use my time.

The other was Benjamin Franklin. Early in his life he wrote what he wanted as an epitaph. Although it was not what ended up on his tombstone, it tells us so much about him. Here it is: The body of

B. Franklin, Printer

(Like the Cover of an Old Book

Its Contents Torn Out

And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding)

Lies Here, Food for Worms.

But the Work shall not be Lost;

For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once Mor

In a New and More Elegant Edition

Revised and Corrected

By the Author.

So how do you want your life to end? Dry rot or used up?

It makes a difference in how you live now.

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Michael B. Henderson is the minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Florence and a member of the Morning News’ Faith & Values Advisory Board. Contact him at fvboard@florencenews.com.

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