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Points to Ponder: Happy New Year--For Now
Points to Ponder
Happy New Year--For Now
It was a beautiful New Years Day, with sunny blue skies and temperatures in the 60's. As I pushed the stroller containing my sleeping daughter, I thought about the idea of January 1st. I imagined for a moment how different it certainly was on New Year's Days gone by.
I thought of January 1, 1955. Fifty years ago, these streets along which I walked were different. Some may not have existed yet. In fact I did not exist yet on that day. My parents were still in High School. Imagine those big cars, those old-fashioned lampposts, and the thinner traffic of that time. Only fifty years. I was not here.
Then I considered fifty years from now. I won't be here then either. Exercise and proper diet not withstanding, I expect to be gone. I may not be done what I was called to do, but I'll be finished. Wow, what a thought! It is so brief. Fifty years ago, I did not exist in the world; fifty years from now, I'll be gone from it. That line of thinking, as I walked along with my little girl sleeping before me, got me to consider priorities.
"...For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (James 4:14b)
Job says, "My life is a breath" (Job 7:7a); Asaph likewise describes our lives as "a breath that passes away and does not come again" (Psalm 78:39b). With this perspective in mind, Moses writes in his prayer, "So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).
Do you number your days? I don't mean thinking of yourself as a carton of milk with an expiration date stamped on you; but have you considered the eternal value of your days here? The beginning of a new year is an appropriate time for that, but being mindful of life's brevity daily can help you to increase the value and appreciation of every day. I also believe that when losses happen throughout the year, grieving is more healthy and the pain is more tolerable. So many of us blow through our lives as if we have years and years to spend as we like. Maybe we do have years to go, maybe we don't. But even if you live to be 100, that really isn't a very long time. That really struck me more deeply than ever when I stood from the perspective of the middle of my life and looked backward and forward fifty years. On either side of that point, I'm not here.
So, what is the point to ponder? Maybe there are several, but here is the most important: Are you living for God? That's not a rhetorical question. For what purpose are you living your life?
It is certain that you have come from God (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Acts 17:26-31) and will one day stand before Him (Hebrews 9:27, II Corinthians 5:10-11). To "number our days" is to be mindful of the One who gave us life and that our time on earth is brief. It is a pilgrimage, a journey through a foreign land. For if you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you look forward, as Abraham did, to "the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10).
The old drivers education principle has a spiritual application here: "Aim high in steering." The vehicle heads in the direction toward which your eyes are focused. Stare too long at the oncoming traffic, and you will veer into it. Spiritually, if your sights are focused on fear, on the past, on accumulating stuff, or on nothing particular at all, that will be the essence of the course of your life. Here today, gone tomorrow--but is the world any better for your having passed through it? An eternity minded soul is one who knows how to live the truly abundant life (John 10:10).
They say "you can't take it with you." With regard to earthly stuff that's true. But if your sights are focused always on Home, there won't be anything here you'll need to take. Why? Because, the true treasures of life are already there ahead of you; the treasures in heaven which never decay. Who can quantify that in earthly terms? When you truly have the abundant life, you don't even think of it in those terms.
Brevity, a vapor; that's what life on earth is for all of us. I look at the face of my sleeping child and know that her childhood will soon pass. This moment with her has come and is gone. But in appreciating those moments as they come, remembering from Whom they have come, I sense the abundance and handle it as a gift to enjoy. I have a good measure of health, right now. I have this beautiful day and the precious gift of a little girl who has been placed in my care, for now. I am well fed, live in a decent home, and have a number of good things, for now. The recent tragedy of the tsunamis in Southeast Asia make it very clear that now is all we have.
Number the days. Let God teach you how to do that. It's only for now. But now is all you need if you are focused on Home and centered in Christ.
For what purpose are you living your life...right now?
This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org and is downloaded for your reading pleasure. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit any material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public domain Web site and encourage all readers to visit this site to enjoy similar material.
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