There’s a verse in an old hymn that says,
Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream dies at the op’ning day.
Time is something we tend to think a lot about as the year closes. To be frank, I’m thinking a bit more about it than usual.
On Wednesday, I had a wonderful conversation with a dear friend who that day turned ninety-eight. It’s hard for most of us to conceive! But she is well, all things considered, and it was a joy to talk with her.
Then, on Thursday, I hit a milestone – the half-century club. I’ve always believed age is just a number, but this one has caused me to pause and ponder a bit more than any other, perhaps because it is such a profoundly round number!
The end of the year, like a milestone birthday, is an occasion both for looking back and looking forward. What have I accomplished in the past year (or half-century)? Who have I become? What do I hope to accomplish? Who do I hope to become?
The ancients called an exercise like this the examen, an examination of both conscience (what I’ve done and who I am) and consciousness (how aware of God and his activity in my life I’ve been). It’s something they actively encouraged we do not only annually, but daily.
Life coaches and new age gurus (who don’t necessarily overlap much) will often tell us to visualize goals as a means of doing what we want to do, and being who we want to be, in a prescribed period of time. Making goals both attainable and tangible certainly contributes toward their accomplishment. But I would stir that pot for you a bit by suggesting that what matters more in that conversation is this: What does God want us to do, and who does God want us to be?
I encourage you to spend a few moments, as the year closes, asking those questions. Because time, “like an ever-rolling stream”, seems to fly by with greater haste as we grow older. Let’s make the most of it.
“We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work” (John 9.4, NLT).
Encouragement From The Word returns on January 12.