Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Your Life Sentence for 2009 & Beyond (Continued)

How much thought have you given to how you want to invest this year in making a difference in others? Perhaps the economic uncertainties and the worry of what will happen this year in our country has not allowed you to focus much on how your life can be used by God to impact others.

I want to encourage you to take time to settle your heart before God and pray. Then, after praying, take pen and paper and write down a few thoughts, a few words that describe what you understand your life sentence to be (see yesterday’s blogspot). Anatole France’s words (quoted in Leadership Gold by John Maxwell) is significant: “The average man does not know what to do with his life, yet wants another one which will last forever” (246). The truth of the matter is that we have only one life to live. This is why thinking through writing a “life sentence” of how you view your life, your purpose, your gift back to God and humanity, can help you in impacting the next generation and leaving a lasting legacy. Think of this: writing and living out my “life sentence” will help me ‘be’ now those things which I want to leave others later.

I’ve thought a lot about my Life Sentence. Although my tasks in ministry and the opportunities to be involved in God’s work varies from time to time, I believe that my Life Sentence is based on my passion for knowing and teaching the Bible. Nothing brings me greater joy (and excitement) than to study and understand more clearly God’s revelation and to lead people to read, study and respond to God as a result of understanding God’s Word. Therefore, the following is my life sentence as I understand it today: To Love and serve God by helping others understand, love, and live out the Bible’s teachings for God’s glory and purposes. The chapters in my life thus far have often been tied to the study and teaching of God's Word, and future chapters of how my teaching ministry will impact others are being written now.

What is your life sentence? What legacy will you leave behind? Grenville Kleiser in his book, Training for Power and Leadership, reminds us of the importance of our daily agenda or habits which in turn will help us develop the legacy that we will one day leave to others:

“Your life is like a book. The title page is your name, the preface your introductions to the world. The pages are a daily record of your efforts, trials, pleasures, discouragements, and achievements. Day by day your thoughts and acts are being inscribed in your book of life. Hour by hour, the record is being made that must stand for all time. Once the word ‘finis’ must be written, let it then be said of your book that it is a record of noble purpose, generous service, and work well-done” (quoted by Maxwell, 247).

Have you written a life sentence that describes the legacy you would like to leave? Don’t just let this year pass you by; be intentional about constructing a legacy that you will pass on to your children, family and world.

This year too will pass; but, so will your life. Live it well! Live it for God! Live it for Kingdom impact! Write your life sentence and begin fulfilling your future legacy today.
Shalam Shalum (stay healthy, at peace and prosperous) in 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Writing a Life Sentence for 2009 & Beyond

It’s hard to believe that we are so soon at the beginning of a New Year. Where did the last twelve months go? I pray that in these uncertain times you will find deep fulfillment and peaceful existence as you live in harmony with God and find your soul’s rest in him.

Toward the end of last year our staff at church finished reading through Leadership Gold by John C. Maxwell. The last chapter in this book is entitled, “People Will Summarize Your Life in One Sentence – Pick it Now” (244). In it Maxwell talks about thinking through what kind of legacy we will leave behind. He defines “legacy” as follows: “A legacy is something we leave behind to the next generation. It can be possessions that we place in the hands of others. It can be principles we lived that carry on beyond our lives. It can also be people we have influenced whose lives are better as a result of knowing us” (244-245). In other words, thinking about the topic of a legacy is to think about how your life can have a lasting impact on future generations.

One of the ways we can effectively begin to think about what our legacy will be is tied to how we view our lives. For example we can ask, what is our purpose? Writing a “life sentence” can help us define and narrow our purpose in life. For the Apostle Paul his life sentence was to be a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. In Titus 1:1 he wrote, “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.” (For help on thinking through one’s purpose in life, see my blogspot: “Life on Target,” http://musingsencolor.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html.)

Sadly, a lot of us still don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives. As believers we understand that we are to glorify God and make his will in Christ be known to all. However, what is God's particular calling for you? What is your purpose? Long ago, renowned violinist, Yehudi Menuhin, stated, “I did know instinctively that to play was to be.” How about you? What were you created and gifted to do? What gives you the most passion and satisfaction in life? If given the opportunity, what would you do for the rest of your life? The answers to these questions will spell out your life sentence.

Have you sat down and written your life’s purpose? Have you written your life sentence? Have you asked yourself what legacy you want to leave to your children and family? How about to your church, community, or even world? (To be continued tomorrow).
Shalam Shalum (stay healthy, peaceful and prosperous) in 2009