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Mark Cole: Three Lessons for Living

By Mark Cole | December 6, 2019
Mark Cole: Three Lessons for Living

Two weeks ago today, I lost a very good friend. A great friend. A brother.

On Friday, November 22, 2019 around 4:00pm, my friend Richard Chancy suffered a sudden and unexpected heart attack and went home to heaven. He finished his race, leaving behind his wife, Kristy, his seventeen-year-old daughter, Jordan, and countless other people who have been eternally impacted by Richard’s life.

It was a significant loss for me—Richard and I were in a band of brothers, a group of men that have grown up together through intentional community for several years. We’ve been through so many of life’s developments—marriages, births, career milestones—and we’ve grown stronger as a result.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” That was the result of mine and Richard’s friendship, and of our band of brothers. We made one another sharper.

Last week, we celebrated Richard’s life in an amazing service. Today, John Maxwell and I share leadership lessons we learned from his life on our podcast. But there’s only so much that memorials can do; at some point, you have to put the memorializing aside and get back to the business of life.

Not too long after Richard’s passing, one of our team members who worked alongside Richard wrote, “The other side of grieving is gratitude.”

That wisdom has helped me reframe my perspective as reflect on losing one of my closest friends. As I grieve, I also grow because of the three things this circumstance has reaffirmed in me.

1. Know your purpose.

We only get one life, and it’s meant to be lived for a reason. How long we get to live it isn’t known, so the earlier we can identify and intentionally live out our purpose, the more of a difference we can make.

Richard encouraged everyone to write out a purpose statement for their life. His was simple and inspiring: “Ignite Passion in Others.” I want to encourage you, take some intentional time to search within yourself and find your purpose. Do this periodically to help define and refine your purpose.

2. Live your purpose.

Do what you were made to do. That’s as simple as I can say it, even though I know it’s not as easy as it sounds. There will be challenges in everyone’s life, but when you and I live on purpose for our purpose, we make the world—and our lives—better.

Richard was relentless in his pursuit of his purpose. He never let fear, or anything else, stand in the way of what he was created to do. He had an insatiable appetite for helping others know their purpose as well. When you start acting in your purpose, your intention for others will come to life, and that’s really what life is about.

3. Live until you die, and don’t get it confused.

You’ve heard it said, “life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.” It’s easy to get caught up in the small things that seem boring, but we don’t have to live with that perspective. We can infuse each day with energy and joy if we’re intentional.

Richard lived with this level of urgency. He would constantly look for opportunities to give breath to others and take their breath away. It was part of how he lived out his purpose.

I miss my friend. But I know that I’ll see him again one day. For now, I am committed to living out these three lessons for living: know your purpose, live your purpose and live until you die.

Friends, we have just our one life and it matters in ways we can’t understand. So let’s make it count.

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