DayBreaks for 7/05/16 – If You Could Do Life Over Again
Galen is on vacation. From the DayBreaks archive, June 2006:
At a conference I attended in February, Tony Campolo told about a survey that was done with a group of people who were 95 years old. They asked these people to reflect on how they’d do their lives over again if they could – what changes they might make. Their responses reflected the wisdom that can only come from having lived so long, and we would do well to listen and learn from them. Here’s their top three responses:
FIRST: We’d reflect more – create a “thin place”. Rather than jumping to conclusions and judgments, rather than rushing so hard to get through each day and onto the next task, they would stop to think more about the beauty of a flower, the sound of the birds, the meaning of life and what makes it worth living. They found that busyness was not a satisfactory answer – they’d done too much of that and wished they’d taken more time to create a place where they could be near to important things and to God;
SECOND: We’d risk more – This may seem like a contradiction of the first item. Reflection would tend to make us think that we’d take less risk, not more. But what they were really saying is that when we become so concerned about ourselves that we’re afraid to give, afraid to love, afraid to dare and dream great things, we become smaller people who die a bit faster. The human body ages not because the cells die, but because they stop dividing. They become more “self-centered”, afraid to risk dividing and giving and “taking a chance.” How tragic when we let our fears keep us from attempting things of value – great things for God.
THIRD: We’d do more that would live on after we’re gone. Oh, this one makes me draw in my breath. We are so very busy with just trying to maintain our standard of living, to keep the bills paid, that we don’t invest much time in our children, our grandchildren, the lives of our neighbors, co-workers and loved ones. The things you do at work every day may or may not live on after you’re gone. But know this: only those things which are done for others, and especially for God, will live on after you have died. And since people are the only things that will go on into eternity from this world, it is in people that we should invest like there is no tomorrow – because there may not be.
Will we have the wisdom to learn from these aged sages and to make the changes we need in our lives to think more, to risk more and to do more that will outlive us?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, slow us down. Bring us into the quiet place where we can meet with you and hear your voice telling us how you want us to re-order our lives. Help us to remember that You are the Lord of great things and that You were the greatest risk taker who has ever lived. And help us to live wisely so that we will invest in things that live on long after we are a faded memory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.