“What do you want to have spent your life doing?” I wrestled with that question all day Saturday. Sunday came, and so did my pastor’s sermon about where we go (the bad place? the good place?) after we breathe our last.
Truth be told, I’m more concerned about this life than the afterlife. I can’t control what’ll happen after I die, and I don’t want to spend much time and energy speculating. What I can control, however, is what I do now. I can control how I use my gifts and resources, how I respond to others, what I talk about, where I go and what I look at.
You, too, have more control than you realize. Yes, you have family responsibilities, a job or two, school, chores, health concerns and financial issues. But you also have access to more power, freedom, joy and faith than you’re using.
What do you want to have spent your life doing? I’m not asking about your achievements, acts of service or even the number of people you led to Christ. I’m talking about something much simpler. How do you spend your days? Your lunch breaks, your commute to work, the extra minutes in waiting rooms and checkout lines? Annie Dillard says how you spend your days is how you spend your life. I say how you spend your minutes is how you spend your life. Because those minutes add up fast.
How do you spend a typical day? I realized this weekend that I’m not spending my days the way I want to spend my life. Sure, I enjoy many blessings and comforts — and I’m grateful! I love my life. I write to help the lost and lonely and sad. I learn about Scripture, and am growing deeper with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
But I’m not walking in faith. I don’t have to. Life is easy and I’m coasting.
I’m not coasting straight to hell, but I’m also not living up to my potential here on earth. And that directly affects my afterlife. God has given me so many gifts but I’ve barely begun to untie the bows, much less open the boxes. I’m a little scared of what’s inside and I’m reluctant to disrupt the family and household routine. So I’m saving my gifts for later.
The problem is that later will be here sooner than I think. And then it’ll be gone.
What really struck me about my pastor’s sermon last Sunday — was Jesus’ words about “the least of these” in Matthew 25:40. Jesus wasn’t talking about helping poor, marginalized people — though that is good and important work. In that passage Jesus Christ was referring to followers who received and responded to His message.
How we respond to our Christian brothers and sisters is how we respond to God Himself. This profoundly, dramatically affects how I answer the question, “What do you want to have spent your life doing?”
No matter how old you are or what you’re dealing with, the sun hasn’t gone down on you yet. What do you want to have spent your life doing? Talk to your family, friends, community group, pastor. Write in a journal. Remember that this isn’t a “Christian” question — ask your coworkers, neighbors, physiotherapist, counselor, teammates, golf buddies. Tell them why you’re curious. Tell them that how you spend your life directly affects how you’ll spend eternity. It’s simple. Until, of course, you get and stay distracted, or refuse to open God’s gifts.
Above all, talk to Jesus. Listen for the Holy Spirit’s nudges and whispers. Respond to God, one small faithful step at a time.
With His love,
New on She Blossoms
10 Ways to Know What to Do With Your Life – These tips will help if you’re wondering “what should I do with my life?” I come back to this question every couple of years; these ideas always help me get back on the right path.
3 Things to Remember When You Want to Go Home – “I want to go home” was all I could think for three years — the whole time I lived in Africa! “If I was at home right now, all my problems would be gone. I’d be safe and happy with my friends and family.”
When You’re Feeling Homesick on the Mission Field – When I lived in Africa — I taught missionaries’ kids at an American Christian school in Nairobi, Kenya — I was the loneliest, most homesick “missionary” I knew! I didn’t consider myself a missionary at the time, but I was definitely struggling with a bad case of homesickness.