The countdown

We have already used up the first  41 days of this “new” year.  We have 324 left.  I have 8360 goals on my to do list and haven’t even written down my resolutions yet…


When I think of time in chronos-mode, I freak out a little.   *!*!*!*

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Ps. 90:12

I don’t want to just live in some crazy pre-occupation with my own goals and dreams or New Year’s Resolutions and self-imposed disciplines to the point that I miss something simple and sweet, or that I end up just zooming past the things of real importance.  I am a crazy list-maker and I hate the thought that I could make thousands of lists of admirable things to do and to be and totally miss the sweetness of the life God actually planned for me before I was even one day old (see Psalm 139).

“For David, after he had served God’s will and purpose and counsel in his own generation, fell asleep [in death] and was buried…” Acts 13.36

Obviously, I am past the halfway mark in the days I have left in life.  How far past that mark, we don’t really know.  I’m not being morbid-just realistic.  But what I do know is that I wish to possess, before I am gone forever, a heart of wisdom, some lasting treasure I can leave behind that will bless the people I love who remain.  And geez-Louise, I HOPE part of my eternal epitaph will be that I served God’s will and purpose for my generation while I lived – not my own or anyone else’s!

“One generation shall praise Your works to another,  And shall declare Your mighty acts.”  Psalm 145.4 NKJV

Coca Cola made this commercial.

Wow.  They did a good job.  You have to read the subtitles, but do.  Watch.  Listen to an old man with fresh wisdom.  I’ll add the script below again.

This is a true story.  In these hard times we bring together the oldest man with the youngest baby.

Hello Aitena.  My name is Joseph Mascaro.  I am 102 years old.  I am a lucky guy.  Lucky…for having been born.  Like you.  For being able to embrace my wife.  For having known my friends and for having been able to say good-bye to them.  For still being here.

You will ask yourself what is the reason I have come to visit you today.  It’s because most people will say to you what a bad moment you’ve chosen to come in to the world.  We’re in crisis, that’s not a good thing…Well, it’ll make you stronger.  I’ve lived worse moments than this one.  But in the end, you’ll remember only good things.

Don’t waste time with nonsense.  There’s plenty of it.  And go and find what makes you happy while you can since time slips away very quickly.

I’ve lived 102 years and I’ll happily live a few more.  Because I promise you that the only thing you won’t like about life, is that life will seem too short.  You’re here to be happy.

And while, yes, we live for much more than the fleeting happiness an ice-cold Coke can buy us (does my churchy-upbringing roar as loudly in your ears as it does in mine?), I think the observations of a man who has lived all the years  he was promised and then some ring pretty similarly to the writer of Ecclesiastes.  The “teacher” in the Bible concludes that life isn’t about the pursuit of contentment through what we accomplish career-wise or through the accoutrements of wealth and fame.  It doesn’t come through pleasure-seeking, and there is even futility in seeking knowledge.  We just try so many things and in the end, there is so much of all we have toiled and strived over that just doesn’t matter.

He seems to suggest we should go, before we’re too old. to enjoy life (the word “joy” is in there).  And eat, because bread was made for laughter, one translation expresses it (and feast for strength not for drunkenness, btw).  Drink, enjoy, do, work hard (whatever work you do – do it with all your might) and give generously, open-handedly.  Ecclesiastes says to always be clothed in white and always have your head anointed with oil (the anointing of the Holy Spirit) which is a reminder to strip off the black clothes and ashes of mourning and sorrow.  And to wear the clothing of celebration and new life  – that is how to live!

cutting the olaf cake

Good things I want to do everyday

I really want my everyday list to be so lofty that it is actually, physically impossible.  Yes.  I admit it.  If I told you what I really always try to put on the list (and fail so  miserably at), you’d see, like I am finally seeing, it is too much.  I am only human, with limited hours in a day.  You, too. But maybe I could manage a list like this, every day:

  1. Be kind.
  2. Sing my head off.
  3. Love deeply – because why else?
  4. Worship God with all I’ve got.
  5. Dream big.
  6. Smile like crazy.
  7. Laugh ’til I cry.
  8. Encourage a friend.
  9. Give grace.
  10. Share joy.
  11. Create beauty.
  12. Pray without ceasing.
  13. Cultivate courage.
  14. Work hard.
  15. Rest easy.
  16. Enjoy life.

But ~ the conclusion when all has been said and done – is to love God and keep His commandments.  {Ecclesiastes 12.13}

It is really the final word on the matter of this little thing called {abundant} life.  The BEST question I ever ask myself, the one that keeps me on track is not, “What time is it???” but rather: “What is this time for?”  Try that on for size.

Go. Read Ecclesiastes.  In one sitting.  Because it will only take about 35-40 minutes at pulpit-reading pace.  And there is wisdom there.




4 thoughts on “The countdown

  1. Amen! I’m actually reading through the book of Ecclesiastes currently. This is a great post. A great reminder. Time for me to change my “clothes”. Love you, Jeanie. :-)

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