The Brevity of Life: Making the Most Important Things a Priority
by: Gordon Dasher
The good thing about being a crusty old man is that I get to play the wise old sage. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but at almost 68 years old, I’m like the professor on the Farmers Insurance commercials — I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.
So when I sat for coffee last week with a much younger man (almost everyone is much younger than I am now), I put on my best old sage face and said, “Let me tell you something you need to know — I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two. You’ll turn around one day, and those little kids will be grown and gone, and you’ll wonder where the time went. Trust me, you won’t regret a single hour that you spent with them teaching them about what’s important in life.”
Boy, do I know how true this is.
My friends Robert and Cathy told me last night that they found an old photograph of Jan and me from when we were first married. Never ones to miss getting a dig in at me, they said, “You sure were young then. Where did the time go?” As if to say, “Dude, you are a disgusting old man — a shell of your former self.” Maybe that’s not what they meant, but that’s the way I took it, and I reminded them that they are both a year older than I am. But that didn’t mean that they weren’t telling the truth.
One day Jan and I were at the altar, and the next I was at her funeral, and the time between the two events seems like a blur. One day, I was in the delivery room watching her give birth to our kids, and the next my granddaughter is almost a grown woman.
WOW! It was brief.
But here’s where the difference lies between someone whose hope is in Jesus and someone whose hope is in the things of the world — I am not discouraged by it, nor am I hopeless. And that’s the truth. Sure, there are things I wish I had the opportunity to do over, but ever since I was a young man and from the point at which I finally gave my life over to Christ’s care and control, I’ve been on a journey with my Father in heaven.
I finally realize that God never promised me that I would become perfect in this life, but what he did promise is that this journey he had me on was lifelong and involved him chipping away at myself so that he could mold me into the image of his son. It is every day — a little less of me and more of him.
And one of the amazing benefits of walking with God is that he gave me a sense of urgency about the life he has given me and the things he has tasked me with stewarding. In the world, I had a sense of urgency too, but it was the fear that opportunities to make money, to make a career for myself might pass me by. In place of that, God instilled in me the urgency to invest in my family and in others who didn’t know God but desperately needed him — even if they didn’t know at the time that they did.
Lest you be tempted to think that time has passed you by, let me assure you of one thing: It’s not too late to ask God to sort out your priorities and lead you to make amazing investments in eternal things — to seek eternal treasures that moth and rust cannot destroy. Even at my age, I’ve renewed my commitment to speak grace and truth into the hearts and minds of people less than half or even a quarter of my age. I’m not worried about immediate results; one thing I’ve learned is that it may take years for our words to come to fruition in a burst of faith in God. If God can be patient, so can I. Besides, it’s God who is responsible for the results, not me!
Yes, life is brief, and so are the opportunities to make eternal investments. Like all of us, you may feel that you’ve wasted a great deal of time, but that’s just the Evil One telling you that you’re too far gone to turn back now.
Don’t listen to him. Listen to the one who loves you and died for you. He’ll take you farther than you ever imagined that you could go.
Father, we implore you to pour your grace and mercy out on us in abundance. Especially, we plead with you to let us see the brief number of our days and to infuse in us a sense of urgency about the things that really matter. Convict us of the fact that opportunities to impact those we love the most with the Gospel of Jesus Christ may not last forever.