Skip to main content

Are you living free?

Tony Campolo tells the story of a time when he picked on a student in the front row of his class, “Young man, how long have you lived?” “Twenty-three years.” “No, no, no. That’s how long your heart has been pumping blood. That’s not how long you’ve lived.” He w…
By Seth Barnes

Tony Campolo tells the story of a time when he picked on a
student in the front row of his class, “Young man, how long have you lived?”

“Twenty-three years.”

“No, no, no. That’s
how long your heart has been pumping blood.
That’s not how long you’ve lived.”

He went on to describe a time when, as a 9 year-old he went
to the top of the Empire
State Building. He ran around and then suddenly stopped. “In one mystical, magical moment I took in
the city. I lived that moment with such
intensity that if I live a million years, that moment would still be a part of
my consciousness.”

Then he looked at the student and said, “Now, let me ask you
again. How long have you

lived?”

The student looked back and said, “Professor, when you say
it that way, maybe an hour, maybe a minute, maybe two minutes. Most of my life has been the meaningless
passage of time between just a few moments when I was genuinely

alive.”

How about you? Most
of us don’t exercise the freedom we’ve been given. Our routines define us. Here’s an illustration you can try on yourself. Pay attention to yourself breathing. The average shallow inhalation takes perhaps
a second. Now look at your watch and
time yourself as you take a long, deep breath.

How long did it take?
Seven seconds? If it did, that
means that on average you have seven times the lung capacity that you use. That’s what it’s like to be fully alive, to
use everything that you’ve got. It’s an
intensity that most of us rarely achieve.
We are so used to shallow breaths, we think that’s normal.

Every now and then, I run into someone who is using their
full lung capacity. Bruce Wilkinson is a man like that. He knows how to live life to the max. He said, “I don’t ever want to commit the sin
of unbelief.” Working with him is a
constant exercise of your faith.

It’s time to stop messing around. Life is zipping by. Yesterday our five children were babies in
diapers. Now three are in college and a
fourth is going to go around the world
for a year. Life is like that –
Bamm! Game over. Cash in the chips. What did you risk along the way and what did
you get out of the deal?

We whiz by life’s
milestones. My grandmother died
recently. She was 97. The last picture I ever saw of her was her on
the back of a Harley Davidson. That’s
how I want to remember her. How do you
want to be remembered?

Comments (5)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *