I celebrated my birthday this week, and several persons asked me what plans I had for marking the occasion.
They appeared quite disappointed when I told them that I had none but spending the day in quiet reflection.
Maybe it’s something about getting older, but I’m just so grateful for life, and I wanted to spend time savouring the gift.
Life hasn’t always gone the way I wanted it to. The idealistic teenager I once was has been on a rollercoster of ups and downs, and I’ve spent many a birthday recounting all the ways that things hadn’t worked out for me in the previous year. All this while claiming to be thankful for life. (Shaking my head!)
But through it all, God has been in my corner, even when I didn’t see it or dare I say, care about it.
So for the last few years I’ve been concertedly trying to do the opposite.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong in visiting the past, as long as you don’t take up permanent residence there. Lots can be gleaned from life’s lessons.
But they’re just that – lessons. Not a tenancy agreement.
Exactly one year ago, I was reeling from the aftereffects of having lived through a Category 5 hurricane. Something I would strongly prefer never to repeat in my lifetime.
It is truly indescribable, and that I believe is because of the sureal nature of the experience.
Nevertheless, despite the material losses and months of infrastructural inconveniences, life has slowly crept back to a sense of normalcy.
Was it easy? No.
It was frustrating, fearful but certainly faith-building.
I’m not back to 100% capacity, but I have a choice. I can wallow in the ooze of what once was, or I can glance back in gratefulness and move forward in faith.
As tempting as the former might be, I’m sure you’ll agree that it would be a giant waste of time.
As I write I have family members on both sides going through what I imagine could be one of the worst experiences in the world…watching the steady deterioration of a close relative as they slowly slide towards death.
That’s not counting the friends who’ve lost loved ones lately.
These people would gladly give anything for extra days, hours and minutes.
How then can I in good conscience waste the precious time that I’ve been gifted?
My goals instead, are to carve out time and channel energy and effort into working for the Lord.
For many years I’ve sat idly by and watch others do. Sure, I’ve always been active in church, but if I’m honest that took nothing out of me.
I mean in a real, sacrificial kind of way.
Luke 10:2 GNB tells us “There is a large harvest, but few workers to gather it in.”
God is looking for people to help bring others to a saving knowledge of Him. Thus I had to glance into the past and ask myself, what have I really done to win souls for Christ?
Maybe it’s a question you need to ask yourself too. Because while my answer was better than last year’s, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
God is counting on us, and so are our friends, family and coworkers who do not yet know God; even though they may not be aware of it.
But we are.
So what are we going to do about it?