As I contemplate a major milestone birthday an appropriate song cycled up from Kenny Chesney. In the lyrics an interviewer asks a one hundred old man his secret to life. His response?
The lyrics describe how quickly this earthly journey goes by.
Just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
He goes on to describe how quickly the years fly by. It seems like yesterday I was playing sandlot baseball. Moments ago I was in high school being Attention Deficit before ADD was cool. Wasn’t it yesterday I met the stunning Joni Banks. Couldn’t have been that long ago that I donned the hideous baby blue tux to wed my beloved. How did those adorable little boys get that old?
I have had, if I may borrow the franchise of Frank Capra, a wonderful life. Not devoid of tragedy and trouble to be sure but through it all we have felt blessed. I believe that is because we found our reason for being here. Pastor and author Rick Warren summed it up nicely in a recent interview.
People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond, In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body – but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillion of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act, the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one or you’re getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life: The goal is to grow in character, In Christ-likeness.
If this is the warm-up act for my eternity gig then all of this is merely preparation. My understanding of the God who made me and that purpose for me allows me to believe there is Sovereign design. I don’t always see it. My real purpose in this journey is learning to live out of my new identity and maturing in Christ-likeness. Paul wrote this in the book of Colossians.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. (Col 3, NLT)
The song continues…
“Best start putting first things first.”
Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand
You can’t flip it over and start again
Take every breath God gives you for what it’s worth
A hundred years goes quicker than you think.
We have a predetermined number of grains in the hourglass so I choose today to live this moment in grace and freedom. Every breath is a gift even on the tough days. Enjoy today. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised.
In no time at all on the eternity clock I will be reunited with my daughter in heaven and other loved ones. I will be with my Lord and Savior. I will be home. For my fellow sojourners I pray that you will trust that truth. You may face storms and deep valleys along the way. My secret to life is trusting that Jesus provided for your righteousness with His finished work on the Cross and He is patiently maturing you for your eternal destiny. And one more thing.