Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Significance of 50

I reached the end of my fiftieth year a few weeks ago. As you who have preceded me understand, the occasion marks a significant moment in life. Then again, perhaps significant is really too impressive a word to describe what is, actually, just another day. Be that as it may, I was forced to consider it as significant by the many well wishes of my friends, accompanied by invitations to take a train ride, to dine at several special establishments, to go away for a 4 day celebration of my birth, and most compelling of all, over 150 birthday cards. My birthday seemed to stretch into days and weeks. But while reading all of the cards, I came to the conclusion that reaching 50 was not what they were celebrating with me as much as the fact that, in some way, our lives had intersected over the years, and we were all better off for it. That was – and is – significant.

And so, I have found myself wondering just who and what I will be seeing and celebrating in ten years, in twenty, in thirty, and perhaps, beyond. Of course, in large part that will be up to me. Time is an empty boundary that we get to fill. How we fill it, how we use it, how we invest ourselves in doing good to the glory of God – this will determine the greatness of future celebrations. And yet, looking at ten, twenty, or thirty more years as time to be used is daunting. It is too much time to take seriously, to large a block to plan out, to unknowable to know. Of course God has always wanted it that way. He is the only One who knows just what all time holds, for He has seen the end from the very beginning. So, what is left for you and me in consideration of this essential - yet untamable – life fuel called time? Just this. Since God rules over all of time, we need not be consumed with the vastness of the future. We need rather to be consumed with Him. We need to love God passionately, proclaiming Him unashamedly, and delighting in Him wholly. In trying to fill up our boundaries with good things, with great achievements, with legacy and lasting impressions, we must never turn from the pursuit of His glory. Are the “good things” God worthy? Are the “great achievements” of eternal significance? Is the “legacy” one that shouts the Lord is great and greatly to be praised? If not, we must not waste our time. After all, we only have so much.

One last thing. Having lived this long, I now understand that things hardly ever go as planned. And while I still believe that plans are the framework of prudent stewardship and faithful living, I have also learned that some of the very best gifts God gives us come unexpectedly. It appears that our Heavenly Father finds joy in surprising us with good things. These occasions of happy providence often find us when life has not gone as planned. Down an unwanted detour we may find an uncommon joy. And so is the paradox of living Christianly. We plan our way, but God directs our steps. I’ve got some plans for my next allotment of years, but I’m really excited to see what God has planned for me.


At 7:43 PM , Anonymous Rodney said...

Congratulations on reaching this milestone!

I enjoyed your posting. I, like you have endeavoured to live my 50 years walking out the purposes of God.

I am sure your time here has been a great blessing to many and the years ahead will be full of God's favour and His signature will rest upon all that you put your hands too.

As I see it, at this point, the legacy we leave behind will be in not only in waht we do, but Who we have lived for. This, then leaves a legacy for His great name.

The best is yet to come!


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