I’m so young, still. I’m getting older every day. Days go by where I never stop to think about this. I thought of it more when I worked in The Relish Barn. There we stamped the jars with the day number. Like, maybe it was day number 235 and then several weeks later, it would be day 265 and I would think about that and how those days are going and disappearing, never to come back, and what did I really do with those days?!
Too often I forget to do important things with my days. Too often I forget what the important things are. How am I, at 22 years old, supposed to know what the important things are? The big question is, will I figure out what the important things are before it is too late?
It must be so much easier at 62 to know. Then you could look back, you could see from your own experience what has been worthwhile and what is not. I think though, that perhaps if you don’t figure out at 22 what is important, at 62 you might forget to think about what is important.
I’ve been doing some thinking about this. Mostly because I was looking for writing prompts for my students and one suggestion was to have them write a short biography of their own life as they would want it to be written after they died. (obviously pretending to be someone else). The assignment then challenges them to take a look at their life now and see how they need to change right now in order for their biography to be true.
This is thought material. While I haven’t actually done the assignment, I have thought about it a lot. This is perhaps one of the best ways to find out what the most important things really are.
If I want to be remembered as a generous, cheerful, helpful person than I have to be a generous, cheerful, helpful person now. If I want to have good relationships and be a strong Christian, I need to be those things now. This way of thinking forces me to go beyond career choices or financial investments to character qualities and intangible things. It forces me to realize that kindness is more important than a nice car. I don’t wish to be remembered for a nice car or an ugly car either for that matter. I would rather that years from now, no one would even remember my car at all and simply remember that Jesus was the only thing that mattered to me.
Because that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? Jesus is what is important, that is all. Now there are things that are important to Jesus. That is very clear. Those things are important to me too, but only because they are important to Jesus. And when I think of things that Jesus tells us are important I feel sad about how many of us have missed it. How often we forget. Our culture has lied to us. It continues to lie to us, and too often we mistake the lies for truth. We forget that the American Dream is, in the end, empty and meaningless. We forget that having more doesn’t make us worth more. We forget that to save my life, I must first lose it. To be rich, I must first become poor. To know joy, I must first walk with sorrow.
What does it matter after all? What does anything matter that is not eternal?
What is eternal? People. God. That’s all.
And so whatever I do with my time, with my money, with my life, If it is to be important must somehow be used for people or for God or it will not be eternal. I have come to the conclusion that the only important thing is relationships. Our relationship with God and our relationships with people. If I am a Christian, If I would truly follow Jesus, nothing else matters.
There is a quote that goes something like this. “A hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, or what kind of job I had, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”