A sociology study asked fifty ninety-five-year-olds what they’d do differently if they could live life over again. Three themes emerged overwhelmingly from the study’s results (1). The nonagenarians said they’d:
- Reflect more
- Risk more
- Leave a greater legacy
It paints a pretty simple, if challenging, plan for a rewarding life, doesn’t it?
God designed our bodies with a built-in shutoff mode: we shut down for a third of every day. He speaks to us quietly, the Bible says, like a soft voice in the still of the night. The whole world operates on a repeating system of growth and rest. The whole human experience implies the need for reflection. Make rest a priority. Take time to be alone. Don’t fear stillness; you may find it’s where God’s been hiding all these years you’ve thought Him absent.
Complacency and fear are enemies of success. Remember: God will never call you to do something that He won’t also equip you to accomplish. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline”. Don’t squander the bold and radiant spirit the creator of the universe gave you. He gives us gifts with the expectation that we’ll use them.
Leave a Legacy
As proud as you may be of your 70-inch television, wall of trophies, or thousands of Twitter followers, don’t fool yourself: they don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Speaking broadly, you’ve got just three options when it comes to spending your limited resources (time, money, etc.) on this earth. You can:
- Waste them on things that give you nothing in return (vices, luxury, excess, etc.).
- Spend them in the pursuit of temporary pleasure, relief, or entertainment.
- Invest them in something that pays eternal rewards.
Look around at the things on which you spend your money. If they don’t glorify God or further his kingdom, they fall into one of the first two categories. Simple as that.
When I look back on my life, I’m sure I’ll see opportunities in which I could’ve done more. But I pray that between now and then I also make an earnest effort to regularly reflect on God’s word, take bold risks in the pursuit of eternal rewards, and invest my resources in a lasting, Godly legacy.
(1) Maxwell, John. (2002) Leadership 101. Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville.