How long are you going to live? And what do you plan to accomplish during that time? While most people don’t approach life with questions like this, it is a good thing to genuinely comprehend—not just superficially acknowledge—the fact that we live and are functional for a specific period of time and no more.
“According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:11)
God’s eternal purpose, accomplished through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, was opening the door to forgiveness of sins and fellowship with our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer God to everyone who repents—who turns away from a life of sin—and trusts in Christ. Yet once we do that, what happens next?
It is essentially important that our priorities in life be correct. We need to see life as God sees it, because that is the way it really is, and He is the One to whom we are accountable for what we have done here. So what should our priorities be?
The most important thing for us to realize is that we don’t get to be functional forever. Our family has cared for my failing mother for the last four years, and during that time we have seen her degenerate from an older, but relatively cognizant, individual to a person who no longer understands most of what is going on around her. And while God is still using her, it is now in a more passive capacity of teaching patience, forbearance and goodness to our family as we care for her. Sometimes, especially when we are still relatively young, old age and death—the time when our ability to be effective tapers off and eventually ceases altogether—is just too difficult a reality to grasp. Yet, it will come. Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4) God has allowed each of us has a finite span of time to accomplish whatever we will; beyond that, the opportunity is gone.
The second thing that we need to understand is what is really important. Most people want the same things—a pleasant job, a loving spouse (perhaps a family), a suitable place to live, a nice car, and extra money to do whatever we particularly enjoy. And while none of these things is inherently wrong, they become wrong when they become our idols—when they become too important and the overriding preoccupation of our lives. Jesus taught, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20) This isn’t simply a suggestion—it is a directive from the very Son of God, our Savior and Lord. He said it because it is essentially important, and something we must base our entire lives upon! So while we need certain things of this world to function and be effective for God’s kingdom, we really need to spend the preponderance of our time, money and energy doing what God wants us to do. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God [outward focus—telling others about God, and how important He is to them] and His righteousness [inward focus—making sure you live your life in a way that pleases God], and all these things [the material things of this world that we need] shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) That’s His promise, because He wants us to do the things that matter!
Several days ago I turned fifty. It is now reasonable for me to assume that I have lived longer than I have yet to live, and this has caused me to reevaluate my life. What have I accomplished thus far? What do I feel I really need to still accomplish before my time is over?
These are important questions, and it is good that I am asking them now, but it would have been better if I had asked these things when I was eighteen, or twenty-one, or even earlier. It is good to figure out His plan for you and get busy doing the things that will matter in eternity at any point in life, but it is best to be God’s man or woman, useful for His purposes and actively pursuing them, from the very beginning. Imagine what God can do through you with that much time!
So, what is your plan? What does God want you to get done during the time He has allocated you? In case you are wondering if there really are specific things we are supposed to do, Ephesians 2:10 confirms, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God has already laid out the things He wants us to get done. Our job is to identify them and get busy!
Dear Lord God,
Thank You that I am Your workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, and that You have already prepared these beforehand for me to do. Help me identify these, and get going! In Jesus’ name, amen.