On April 18, we remembered the three year anniversary of Bob Buford’s transition to heaven – our great loss, heaven’s great gain. Bob’s legacy is alive and well and being lived out around the world.
The Buford Library’s aim is to encourage you on your journey of success and significance. Periodically, we will send The Best of Bob emails with Bob’s own words as well as treasures from The Buford Archive. We will work to keep these Best of Bob communications short, relevant and future oriented—Bob would want no less.
Bob’s Thoughts from June 13, 2005
We all, whether we realize it or not, live in the light of eternity. It is like the pre-glow of sunrise on the horizon of our lives. And like what’s beyond the horizon, we don’t know exactly what’s over there on the other side.
But we can imagine.
Dr. Dallas Willard has been a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for nearly forty years. He is both deep and approachable—at heart, he’s a plaid shirt type of guy. If I could pick one person as a coach on the deeper things in life, it would be Dallas Willard. In my book Finishing Well, we talked about the idea of eternity …
We discussed the idea that faith, far from being irrelevant, really gives life its purpose and meaning. I asked, “Dallas, you’ve said that meaningfulness always requires a context. People feel meaningless if they don’t have either heaven for a context, or a meaningful set of relationships, or a meaningful purpose in life that might relate to their work. Is that right?”
“Yes, exactly,” he said. “And if we don’t have some larger context than just the dreary day-to-day facts of life, negative feelings take over our lives.
…“That’s what the religious wars were all about. In more recent times, evangelicals have stressed professing faith — not necessarily having it, but professing it. As a result, many people don’t think of death as a joyous trip to a world that is so much better than this one. Most Christians are terrified by the thought of dying. …We live pale and empty lives here on earth because we’re ignorant about what lies ahead, and we need to see that the dimensions of life are so much greater than what we can see, hear, and touch today. Now, I know from what you’ve said, Bob, and certainly from your previous books, that you really do understand this bigger dimension. I know that you are looking forward to being with your son and with the others who have preceded you in heaven, and that this is very real for you. I wish everyone could feel that connection.
…“Paradise is actually in session right now. When Jesus spoke to the thief on the cross, he said, ‘Today you’ll be with me in paradise.’ Just as you’ve expressed it, Bob, your son has been living in paradise for many years now; and paradise is in session now. It isn’t something that’s going to start later. It’s ongoing.”
“What a wonderful image,” I said. “I remember, just after my son died, writing to a man who is mature in these matters to ask if he thought Ross could see what we’re doing here on earth. And when he wrote back, he said, ‘Well, he probably has the capacity to see what you’re doing but he’s so busy doing what he’s doing now that he probably doesn’t spend much time with that.”
“Yes,” Dallas said, “I think that’s exactly right. I had a young man in my class last year whose mother was killed in an automobile accident. He wanted to know if she would be worrying about him. I said I believe that she is aware of so many different things now that she will see him in the light of eternity, and not in the light of his temporary troubles. And while she still loves and cares for him as much as ever, she’s got a lot of things to occupy her now. I do believe that people who have gone on can know what’s happening to us, but they’re not going to be worried about us because they have a much broader understanding of life than we can begin to imagine.”
A Gem from The Archives
In a letter from Charles Colson, to Bob dated March 29, 1985, Charles wrote…(the organization and personal names are withheld for the sake of confidentiality)…
“Remember too that your mission is not to serve the [organization of young leaders]; it is to serve Christ. It is the tendency to fit the Lord into an organization’s blueprint—but the great men of God down through the years have always done exactly the reverse: they have made the culture or organizations conform to Christ.
I’ll never forget what [a friend] told me in the first Bible he inscribed to me: “It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail.” Organizations like [the organization of young leaders] will come and go but the cause of Christ and His kingdom cannot fail. Lift Him up and He will do the rest.”