In 36 hours, it’s all over.
I continue to speed down life’s highway. In 36 hours, 2019 will be another year in my life’s rearview mirror. You’ve heard it from others; perhaps you’ve thought it, yourself: your life is accelerating. Each year comes-and-goes at another record pace. Just 10 years ago today, 2009 was in its final hours: do you remember anything from that year of your life? Could you recount the significant days – or, meaningful investments – that were part of your 2009 never-again year of life?
Moses had some great counsel for me – and, you – to post at the top of our Year-at-a-Glance calendar: “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:10,12).
If you were programming the TED Talks for life planning – against the backdrop of God’s eternal perspective – you would schedule Paul on the program after that challenge from Moses. His input is immensely practical: “I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care… If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved – even though only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
Moses’ caution is priceless. You’ll live forever because you’ve been adopted into God’s eternal family, but your time on Earth is extremely limited. As you execute your offense in the game of life, keep one eye on the scoreboard, because when it’s over, it’s over. Manage your life clock with wisdom.
Paul exposes the daily challenge. Once saving faith has been established as the only viable foundation for life, the task of building your life stretches to your mortality horizon. Every day, the choices are real: where will your time, talent and treasure be allocated? Those decisions are binding: at the end of the game, there are two categories into which everything will be divided. Temporal pursuits will burn; the eternal will be rewarded. And, within the stack of eternal wins, God will stratify between good/better/best. His commendations will be commensurate with the outcomes of that delineation.
I’m looking back on my 2019 year, trying to use God’s assessment criterion to determine the real answer to the question we’ll be asking one another as New Year’s Eve stimulates a moment of reflection. How was your year?
My personal annual report is critical to consider. Though far from perfect, I did nothing – publicly or privately – that would bring disrepute to God’s Kingdom. The responsibilities that God gave to me for my family – to submit to Cheri, to convey God’s blessing on our progeny – have been critical and intentional pursuits that warranted my A-game. I continue to emphasize my Kingdom Calling – to help Christian leaders find and fulfill their Calling – as the focus of God’s will for my life. And, the stewardship of all God has entrusted to us – as shrewd investors acting as fiduciaries on behalf of the Master – continues to compound. The joy of giving trumps the brief buzz of consumption; we ask for more so that we can compound our contributions to the things that advance His Kingdom.
Most of 2019’s days are already a blur… but they’ll be brought back into view someday, when God sets fire to our lives to expose the things that really mattered. That future reality magnifies every year as the sand in life’s hourglass continues to pour through. So… How was your year?