Yesterday was my birthday = 53 years and one day in this world. Fifty-three is not earth shattering. Now when you enter into one of those “zero years,” that can hit hard! 30, 40, 50…. you get the idea. When I turned 50…. now that was momentous! Around the time of my 50th birthday I was lying down in a cabin on a relative’s property in Big Springs, TX trying to take a mid-day nap. While lying there it really hit me that I was in the half-century club. Things occurred to me like – I could retire and start getting social security in 12 years…. WOW! Also I recognized that the window had closed on some other things (vertical jump over 12 inches / 40 yard dash under 10 seconds) to name a couple. I understand we don’t know how long we have in this life. I just visited my grandmother and she is 105 years old as I type these words. But at 50+ – I can see that space between the bottom of the window and the sill getting small in many areas…. saving for retirement for example. So I was lying there – not really having a pity party but grasping the realities of being 50. I’ll get back to Big Springs, TX in a minute. First I have a message for those in the 49 and younger club and then one for those over 50.
To the Youngsters under 50
Is there a problem with realizing the brevity of this life? Not at all – as a matter of fact you should do this very thing. Life is very short! I don’t need to tell this to the 50+ crowd because we already know it. You’ve probably heard older people say “life is short” your entire life – and it’s true! I’ll bet my grandmother would say “life is short” at 105. We should be aware of life’s brevity – I know this because God points it out in Scripture:
What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14b NIV)
Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. (Psalm 144:3-4)
Maybe we are to be keenly aware that this life passes by very quickly – so that we won’t put things off that really matter as if we have all the time in the world? There are no guarantees regarding how long we have – but be that as it may, life is short! So don’t put off the important stuff:
- Time with family
- Reconnecting with friends
- Reconciliation with those we have offended
- Forgiving those who have offended us
- Learning Scripture
- Gathering with other believers
- Receiving from God
- Share the good news with those who need it
- And certainly receiving the forgiveness and Lordship that Jesus offers – if you have been putting this off
As a pastor I have visited several people during their final moments in this life. I have yet to hear one say, “I wish I would have watched more YouTube.” Or “If I only would have spent more time on social media.” Or, “Why did I not dedicate more time perfecting my gaming skills?” These things aren’t necessarily bad, but don’t neglect the important stuff thinking you have plenty of time.
To the …. 50+ People
Back to Big Springs, TX. As I was laying there contemplating the brevity of this life – I began to sense the presence of the Lord telling me to go outside. This became so clear and overwhelming that I did the smart thing (in this case) and went outside. I thought I was going outside to pray or meditate so I stumbled out to the porch and sat down. I was a bit tired / sleepy so I sat there preparing for what the Lord had in store – when I noticed that I was sitting very near one of those gigantic power generating windmills that you see along the highways in West Texas. As I watched the large arms of the windmill swing around over and over again I knew this represented time and the Lord was speaking to me. Time keeps on moving steadily and surely, never stopping just like this windmill in my presence. Then I looked beyond that windmill and there were windmills spinning as far as my eyes could see. I knew that these represented eternity – never ending time. For those in Christ there is no shortage of time – we have eternal life right now…. we HAVE immortality! Leaving this earth is a doorway to being in the very presence of our wonderful and loving Lord. Death has lost it’s sting! God was showing me that there is no real shortage of time, I am immortal. Maybe He is trying to communicate this to you as well?
Life on this earth is very brief / and eternal life is timeless. We can benefit from both of these truths.