I did my first official run a couple years ago. I was nervous because 99% of the time I run by myself – and not that fast. That day there was 800 people. I didn’t do too bad. 484th? In the top 500 ?
When I was done, I started to think back to different parts of the race. I noticed I was too aware of the people around me and not focused on my own race. I also realized I should have ran a little slower at the beginning to keep a better pace the whole time.
Isn’t funny how only at the end of something do we wish we would have done something better earlier on, like the beginning of a year, season, race, marriage, relationship, or semester.
There’s something clarifying about a finish line. They are sobering, especially if it’s real life.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR LIFE WILL HAVE BEEN LIKE WHEN IT’S OVER?
New year’s resolutions can be short sighted. They’re not bad. At least they’re first steps. But they’re pretty short term.
WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR LIFE TO BE LIKE?
The Apostle Paul came to the end of his life with little regret. He tells a younger pastor:
“I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness…”
Paul spent his life. He lived it. He gave it all. Everyday. He reminds us to “make the most of every opportunity.” (Eph 5:16)
It’s not enough to hope your life will turn out some way. Instead, you must consider what you must do now that you can’t do later.
There’s at least a few things that you can’t accomplish a really short time:
- You can’t save for retirement when you’re 70.
- You can’t build life long friends in just a few years.
- You can’t leave a legacy in a neighbourhood in 6 months.
- You can’t give a life’s worth of donations in a couple of checks.
So… WHAT MUST YOU DO THAT YOU CAN’T DO LATER?
What financial decisions must be made today… every day… every year?
What relationship choices must be made earlier?
Which neighbours will you invest in this year, not in 20?
What ministry will you begin serving in this season?
When will you start giving to your local church or invested charity?
YOU CAN’T CUT IN AT THE END.
Rosie Ruiz won the 1980 Boston Marathon. She beat the world record. Everyone was amazed. Shortly after the race, people started to suspiciously look into her race and background. Many did not see her at certain check points. Her heart rate was pretty low for the average runner finishing. At her qualifying race in NY she was seen getting on the subway near some check points. She had flabby legs. Really? No other marathon runner had legs that flabby (go figure).
They finally discovered she secretly took the train from Cambridge to Boston and cut in with a few miles left. She cheated!
Pretty funny (or not). Here’s the reality, you can’t do this in life. You can’t take a subway ride that’ll get you further in your relationships. You can’t skip cumulative savings if you’re trying to reach a goal. You can’t come to love God with all your heart and mind never spending anytime in prayer or in scripture. The most meaningful things in life and faith usually require a “long obedience in the same direction” (Eugene Peterson)
As you look ahead to consider what life you hope you will have lived, consider what you must do now that you can’t do later.
WHAT COMES TO MIND AS YOU REFLECT ON WHAT YOU HOPE YOUR LIFE WILL TURN OUT TO BE? HOW WILL YOU NURTURE THAT?