Living Ahead

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

On their most recent album “Native” the music group One Republic has a song entitled “I Lived.” The lyrics to this song are a reminder about how we are living our lives. Some of the words say, “I did it all, I owned every second that this world could give, I saw so many places, the things that I did.” It goes on to say, “Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up, and when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup.”

These lyrics reminded me of Paul’s encouragement in 2 Corinthians 4. Paul realizes that our time on earth is fleeting and short. He encourages us to live life with the anticipation that each new day is going to hold something new and exciting no matter what our situation might be. He also reminds us to never take our eyes off of the unseen riches awaiting us in heaven.

In a recent article in Purpose magazine, Katie Funk Wiebe reflected on her 89 years of life. It sounds like she has lived life her life in the way that Paul encourages and the way that One Republic describes in their song. She says, “I see these retirement years as some of the best in my life, among the richest and most rewarding. At age 89 I am standing on the mountaintop.”

She then goes on to write about what she might have done differently. Yes, she lived a full life that she is very thankful for but here are a few things she passes on to those with many years left in life. She shares five things she would have done differently.

1. I would plan on living a long time. (We don’t know how long we will live on this earth but Katie says that she now plans for many more birthdays even at the age of 89)

2. I would remind myself early on that I am only a pilgrim, just passing through. (She goes on to encourage her readers to let go of stuff sooner. She says, “A pilgrim can’t carry a heavy load.”)

3. I would de-clutter my belief system sooner. (She says that she would focus on believing more about less. She says, “Life gets easier if I’m not protecting my beliefs from attack. God doesn’t need my protection.”)

4. I would make soul care a greater priority than travel, shopping, and recreation. (Katie says that with the longer life expectancy these days it allows us more time to nurture our souls.)

5. I would work harder at dispelling the dark. (She mentions how she too often allowed the fear of things like health, money, etc. to affect her. She says that we should feed on the light of Christ and not the darkness of this world.)

No matter what our age it is important for us to retain the commitment to be renewed by Jesus each and every day. That renewal might look different depending on what stage of life we are at, but when our last days come we all want to be able to say, “I lived, I believed in and followed Jesus, I found daily grace and renewal, and as the sun sets I can honestly raise my cup and say, Thank you Lord for filling me up.”

Make it personal: How do you start your day each morning? Think about that and be intentional about celebrating renewal, grace, and the opportunities that each new day presents to us as believers in Jesus. Sometimes being is just as important as doing. Here is how Katie ended her article…. “My journey into old age now is more an inner journey than an outward one. It requires deliberate daily attention to nurturing my faith and less focus on doing. I use a prayer cheat sheet to remind me when my memory goes blank. I turn to the Bible and devotional reading. I write in my journal. I meditate. I think. I don’t have to do. At this point in life God is satisfied with my being. This is still the best time of my life.”

Have a blessed week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church