It’s amazing all the threads of my recent life that are weaving together to remind me of the the preciousness of time and life, especially this time of life. Saturday morning was our annual Family Missions breakfast at our church. The speaker for our program that morning was one of our church’s missionaries, my friend, Dr. Tim Keesee. I absolutely love reading his newsletters - he writes so well! But I seldom get to hear him speak. He showed a DVD that his mission has made about the persecuted church in a mainly Muslim country in Asia. Afterwards he spoke about what that all has to do with us in our country. He encouraged us to spend our lives well by making much of Christ and by being willing to take risks for Him as we embrace His cross. This is exactly what our persecuted brothers and sisters are doing where they live. The power of the DVD and of what Tim said was evident to all in attendance.
Then Sunday morning I heard Dr. Ken Casillas speak from Eccl. 11 and 12 on the topic “What to Do with Your Youth.” That passage reminds us that our life is “vanity” = like a vapor that’s here and then gone. The passage makes it clear that it’s God’s will, not only that we enjoy the goods things He gives us to enjoy in our youth, but also that we devote to God our youth with all its energy and strength because old age limits our capacities. As one who is between youth and old age, I can still do much with my life.
Then Dr. Matt Olson spoke in our chapel this morning (Monday) on a topic that kind of wove threads in the other two messages together in my heart. This whole thing has been really neat because I had already been thinking a lot about the passage of time as we anticipate welcoming our first grandchild into this world in late April. There are three of us who teach French at BJU, and before the end of this calendar year, we will turn 60, 58, and 56. (I’d like to graciously say that I’m the youngster!)
All of this has reminded me of something I sent to those who were ivman subscribers over 5 (YIKES!) years ago! It was originally written by Pastor Gordon Dickson, a pastor in Findlay, Ohio. He wrote it to share with his congregation and sent me a copy at that time. I share it with you on the blog with his permission and blessing. We can all profit from such a reminder.
What if one lifetime were like one year?
by Dr. Gordon A. Dickson
Moses said in Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Here’s an idea - plan your life like you plan your year. All of us prepare for the seasons of the year. (If you don’t believe me, check the mall parking lots at certain times of the year.) All of us know how to plan for New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We understand the “rhythms of the seasons.” Now let’s see if we can look at our passing years the way we look at the passing seasons. If my math is right, every five days would represent one year (using Moses’ average life span in Psalm 90:10).
So, what if your lifetime were like one year?
The day you were born - Happy New Year! It’s the start of a brand new life and a brand new year. What a wonderful season! Your whole life and your whole year are before you!
At nine years old, you would find yourself at Valentine’s Day. It’s still too early for spring, but things are beginning to change. Valentine’s Day introduces you to love - and not just the mom and dad kind. When you discover this kind of love, everything begins to change!
You would be “sweet 16? on St. Patrick’s Day … and not a moment too soon either! This “green” day reminds you of the greening of spring. In this season of “spring cleaning,” you must sort out the treasure from the trash. At 16, you are choosing between good and garbage - constantly. Your choices in “spring cleaning” stay with you all year long, and that’s just like life. You need the Lord’s help to know trash from treasure.
At 18, you’re late in March and ready to march. Congratulations! High school is behind you, the world lies at your feet. Spring is in full swing! It’s a time to plan your planting. So much of the rest of your “life year” will be formed by the choices you make here. It’s time to ask the Lord for wisdom.
Age 22? You’re in the Easter season and already making some very adult decisions. As the flowers bloom and the weather warms, you see bright new horizons ahead of you. Already you have seen the results of some of those trash/treasure decisions and those “sowing and reaping” choices. As you plan out vacations and holidays, you begin to realize that the course of your “life year” is pretty well set. How you “applied your heart to wisdom” has made all the difference.
When you’re 27, you would be celebrating Mother’s Day, and, by Memorial Day, you would be “over the hill” at 30! The weather is warm and the plans are many. Now you are making decisions, not only for yourself, but for others. You have more responsibilities and more opportunities. Sometimes wisdom comes knocking - with some very hard knocks! It becomes more and more obvious what kind of life and what kind of year you’ve made for yourself.
If you are in your mid-thirties, it’s time to celebrate July 4th. Isn’t independence great? But how did time pass so quickly? Valentine’s Day was just yesterday, right? These are warm days, sweltering “years,” hot with the activity of many well laid plans. The real fruit of your choices is starting to show and grow. It’s time to “number your days” and “apply your heart to wisdom!”
By the time you’re fifty, it’s Labor Day, and the summer is over. It’s harvest time! So many choices you made earlier in the year, and earlier in life, are now ready for harvest. You begin to understand the phrase “too soon old; too late smart.” Fall is on the way. Is that snow on the roof already?
It seems a stretch, but if you’re 65 you would be at Thanksgiving. (Whew! let’s stop and catch our breath!) In this season of the year, you want to gather all your loved ones together. The word “family” is very important during this part of your “life year.” It’s time to gather together to enjoy the fruit of your labors. It’s time to bless and be blessed.
At 70, it’s Christmas … who would have believed it? Reminiscing in this season brings back the memories of a lifetime. The treasure of those beautiful memories must push aside the trash of the bad memories. It’s time to bless others with the fruit of your year and the fruit of your life.
In which season of the “life year” are you now living? Wisdom teaches us to use each season of life the right way. It’s never too late for “course adjustments.” As most of this new year lies before us, I hope you will treasure every moment that you have, and remember “time waits for no man.” None of us is guaranteed three score and ten years.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
“It’s not about how you die. It’s about how you live…. You cannot save your life. You can only spend it.” - Dr. Tim Keesee
I am not getting old, just more time sensitive.
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