A sign that you are definitely growing old is when you keep bringing up how time is passing you by so fast. If you haven’t noticed it happens to be a habit of mine… but I just can’t help it. Soon I will be celebrating another birthday. At this stage of my life, birthdays have taken on a very different meaning. I don’t mind getting old, but birthdays do remind me that I have lesser days before I see our Lord face to face. This encounter with Jesus is something that we have always praised & prayed about as Christians, but if we truly understand what that day means, it will have a profound impact on our present life before the eternal state.
One subtle heresy that even Christians have embraced is that as we are growing old, we are to slow down & take it easy from our service & sacrifice in God’s kingdom. The truth is every biblical personality who is considered a servant of God served the Lord fully until He called His servant home. This is the biblical norm, and it’s most plausible.
When I was in seminary, I used to be one of those students who always took the whole period to finish a test. If the exam was difficult, the last 10-15 minutes of the class were used to fill in as many answers as possible to get a better grade. If I felt the exam was relatively easy, the last 10 minutes or so were used to double check my answers.
What I am proposing today is that although every moment, every period of our lives are important in shaping who we are, how we influence our world & serve God’s kingdom, how we finish our lives may be the most important epoch. Let’s examine just a few characters from the Bible.
Moses spent his first 40 years in Egypt receiving the best of everything, then the next 40 years in the desert hiding, but it was his final 40 years that God used to lead the Israelites out of bondage.
Apostle Paul started out as a promising Pharisee with all the makings of a successful career, but ends his life as a missionary to the Gentiles. God’s Word he has recorded continues to touch & strengthen our faith.
Of course there is no better example than Christ. His final 2-1/2, 3 years on earth forever altered the trajectory of the redemptive history of mankind past, present & future.
How we end matters a great deal in God’s spiritual economy.
I know that it’s a sensitive & tough question that I am raising this week, but again I can’t help it. Maybe it’s my age or it may be the fact that I am on the mission field that prompts me to look at life away from shades of gray, but I must ask, “How are we going to spend our life before the Master returns?”
John Ortberg wrote a very poignant book titled When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box. In it he identifies 4 common areas that people regret when they come to the end of their lives.
- I should have loved more deeply.
- I should have laughed more often.
- I should have given more generously.
- I should have lived more boldly.
As a missionary & as a Christian, I must add one more to the list.
I should have shared Christ more often, generously, boldly & deeply.
This is a prayer that I lift every day for every member of my family, and now this is my prayer for you as well that we will all hear from our Savior & Lord Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”