I turned 50 years old on Sunday. I am thankful for the birthday messages and blessings I received. Milestone birthdays are great opportunities to reflect and think back, as well as look ahead to the future.
I have read and heard many of the hopeful statements and things people have written about 50 being the new 40, and it being the halfway mark of life. There seems to be a good bit of wishful thinking in these sentiments. As far as most life expectancies are concerned, I am solidly in the middle of the third quarter of my life.
As I reflect on the past 50 years, I realize that I have been greatly blessed and highly favored! I’ve been blessed with family, friends, and more life opportunities and experiences than I can count. Every single blessing I have enjoyed has come from the grace of God in my life. I deserve nothing, nor am I owed anything, but I have received much and I am humbled and grateful.
There have also been many painful experiences along the way from which I have learned. God has used the stress and struggle of life to shape and teach me to depend more on him. I can say without any reservation or hesitation at all, God is faithful and he can be trusted!
From a practical standpoint several things stand out regarding what I have learned in 50 years. I have learned to find my identity in who God created me to be, and who I am in Christ, over what I have accomplished or anything I possess. I have learned everyone builds and leaves a legacy of one kind or another. I have learned people are more important than things or experiences. Relationships that grow on the journey of life are infinitely more valuable. I have learned loyalty is better than self-seeking. Loyalty to God, family, friends, and God’s call on my life are important. I have learned that time is fleeting and life is truly a vapor. I cannot afford to waste what God has entrusted to me. I am learning to be thankful for the past, live with contentment in the present, and look forward to the future with hope.
As I look ahead I want to continue to invest purposefully in specific areas of my life. First, I want to continue to invest in my relationship with God. I am thankful that God saved me as a child and the more I know about him, and the better I know him, the more I realize there is to know. Second, I want to continue to invest in my family. Change is constant in life but one of the constants is family. Everyone has regrets in life to some extent. However, I can say with thanksgiving to God, that I do not have regrets about the time or energy I have been able to invest in my family. Third, I want to continue to invest in genuine friendships. As you age the saying, “you find out who your friends are” rings true. Fourth, I want to continue to invest in my calling from God. Many people start well in ministry, but do not finish well. I want to thrive, persevere, and finish well whenever that time comes. Last, I want to lead as many people as I possibly can to faith in Jesus Christ and help develop the next generations of disciples. I am deeply grateful to God for his goodness in my life.
Psalm 16:5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.