Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Finishing Well

Step into that time machine called imagination and let yourself be transported back to the year 1954.  The United States is recovering from three years of military action in Korea.  The dating scene finds young couples going to see 7 Brides for 7 Brothers and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The Rock and Roll era erupts onto the music industry with Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock.  And the U.S. House of Representatives investigates a GLUT of oil that lowers prices while the Senate investigates a sharp rise in coffee prices.  Our economy is textile-driven and over a third of workers belong to unions.  A typical middle-class home is 800 square feet and cost about $7,000.  It was also the first year that you could purchase a Swanson "TV Dinner" of turkey, yams, and peas.

It's been 60 years . . . 6 full decades . . . 10 years over a half century.  Anything 60 years old is, well, old. Those are words and phrases that can now be used to describe me.  Last month, I turned 60.  Now I know that means little to those of you who have lives much longer and even less to those of you who are much younger.  But to me, it's a magical milestone.  You see, I never thought I would be this old and now, after being 60 for a month, it seems much younger.  Oh, I take a handful of vitamins and medications daily.  And I have to monitor my diet and exercise rigorously 3-4 times a week.  And, yes, I am beginning to battle the aches and stiffness that so often accompany the aging process.  BUT, I also feel fulfilled!  I spend a lot of time reflecting on the past, encouraged by how God has prepared me for opportunities, walked with me through them, and enabled me to grow through them.  Some of them have been dark valleys and others have been on high mountaintops, but all of them were opportunities.  To quote my friend, Eric Bailey, it's been a good ride.

Now, I am eagerly anticipating the next 60 years or 40 or 20 or however long God allows me to remain here.  As good as it has been, I believe God's best for us is always ahead.  The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian Church and said, "This is what I do:  I don't look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus."  Phil.3:13-14 (GWT)

Whatever has happened or is happening in your life, both good and bad, can be used by God to prepare you for opportunities to serve Him at a greater level.  Whether you're 16, 26, 46, 60 or older, God's best days for you are still ahead.  They might be fewer than you've already lived, but you have the opportunity to finish well.  As you yield yourself for His use, you'll continue to find a sense of purpose and fulfillment that can never be earned or bought.

Let go of the past and fully surrender your life to Him today.  Finish Well!