Blog » POOF! 2015 Gone!
- Dec 31st, 2015 at 10:19 AM (CST)
We all have end of the year rituals, and one of mine is to prepare the next year's offering envelopes. We typically prepare our offering, whether manually or having automated it, in conjunction with each pay period. As I am paid monthly, I budget each month faithfully as I have since I was in my 20's. But at the end of the year I pull out from the envelope box the first sunday offering envelope from each month and put them on a little stack next to the box. I keep the box so that we can make extra gifts to the Lord as possible. Yet, the stack counts down the year as it dwindles.
When I pull out the twelve new envelopes for the next year my mind has an assortment of thoughts includintg the tough events and joys which transpired, unsettled issues creeping into the new year, hopes for personal goals to be achieved in the days ahead, and of course, the passage of time.
Every year I select those twelve envelopes I note the aging of my body, the inevitable draw toward death, and I for just a second wonder if I, or someone I love, will die in the new year. Morbid? Not overly so. We all have thoughts of death occassionally; I certainly do not obsess about it. If God calls me Heavenward in 2016, great! I'll take the guarantee of resurrection and bliss in eternal life over any number of years here! Who knows how long we have, as the Scriptures advise in Psalm 90, which I often read at funerals, "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (v.12)." For the Christian this "numbering" of our days is literally a countdown to the joy of eternal life won for us by Christ!
One other comment about the passage of time; every five years or so life seems profoundly different than I anticipated. It seems that much time needs to pass to reflect well upon it, but not so much as a half lifetime. I find that so much changes in five years that it is startling. We gain or lose abilities, our children move through one or two phases of maturity, our workplace shifts in various ways, our friends rotate in or out of communication, our bodies show the passage of time, etc. We may have stopped doing a favorite activity due to health concerns, or picked up a new one to share with our spouse. We may have lost dear friends or family members, creating a hole which we long to fill for company.
Eternity seems such a strange concept, given how radically we move thorugh life. Yet, I can almost imagine a constantly positive, growing process of discovery with God, fresh enough to relish each day, but consistent enough not to lose perspective. It will be a joy to participate in endless insight, discovery, appreciation of God and his universe. The older I get the more I feel pressure to abandon my habit of studiously underlining and highlighting books. I am beginning to feel that it is time to give it up. I feel as though I wish to cover more ground, as though I'm not getting through enough works, even though I read regularly. Maybe on the backside of life I will see whether it is wiser to eschew the markings for the holistic reading experience. I can always dog ear pages, and based on past history I should be able to pick up the thread of thought which prodded the bent page.
To that end I just this week consumed The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. This is a Christian classic and though I had even quoted from it once or twice had not read it. I'm glad I did, as it deepened my sense of "being my brother's keeper," and prayerfully expecting God's guidance in every decision in life. I strongly recommend you find time for it, too.