I am now over a half a century old – 51 to be exact. Seems old from my viewpoint but from those who are decades older it probably doesn’t. From the viewpoint of all life 50+ years is just a blip on the horizontal chart of time. Even if you are a young earth creationist, the viewpoint that has the shortest time since life has been created, you still believe life is around 6,000 years old. Even at 6,000 years 50 years is less than 1% of creation’s time line.
As I think about my last 5 decades I have lived a varied life and I am reminded of some of the things that I have been a part of:
- Marriage to Susan for over 26 years.
- Have 3 children from 3 different races – Abigail, Grace, and Israel – with all of the joy that involves.
- 3 Careers – 2 were paid as an engineer and now as a software developer. 1 not paid as a Pastor.
- Part of helping 2 companies startup and become successful ventures.
- Traveled to 20 countries on 4 continents.
- Part of a great team who have created a unique church willing to risk it all no matter the cost – Relationship Church.
- Seen the best in people who have endeavored to make their area of influence better.
- Seen the worst of people as selfishness has destroyed the good works of others.
- Lived in 3 cities, owed 3 houses, and lived in 5 different apartments. Some places were low like the roach infested room I lived in while attending college and others were more than I deserved.
- Owned many cars from the lowly Chevrolet Chevette to high end sports cars.
- Worked jobs where my sole purpose was to pick up trash to meetings with Microsoft executives on new software development.
- Seen man’s prowess on earth grow in the area of technology and watched as his morality has decreased.
- Dined at expensive restaurants and lunched with people on the dirt floors of their houses.
- Slept in very nice hotels and slept under the stars.
- Read thousands of books and written a few.
As I ponder on these, I don’t know what the next half a century holds for me, but if it is as varied as the last 50 years there is no way I can predict what will happen. I have been a part of a lot of things and I am a very blessed man so at the half way mark what do I think is important? What do I think is worth living for? Where do I get my identity? What is my purpose? What are my goals for the next 50 years?
I have dozens and dozens of books covering subjects on productivity, setting goals, business biographies, company formation, how to grow and prosper, etc. When I was younger I had many grand ambitions, long range goals, and countless dreams. I am sure that these have had an influence on my life but probably not as much as I give them credit for. Much of what I have accomplished I never planned and what I planned rarely did I accomplish. Are 5 year plans valuable? Maybe, in some abstract way, but really the world is changing so fast we can’t predict what will be around or happen in the next 5 years.
So what have I learned the last 50 years? What advice would I give a young person, an old person, any person?
My advice would be a lot different now than even a decade ago. It would be summed up with the words of a man named Micah who lived around 725 B.C. He was a Hebrew living in the village of Moresheth in Judah. A man that would know very little of my world. He would not understand what a software developer was, a car, texting, 401(k) plans, Facebook, Delicatessens, or even the Bible as I know it. But he said something 2700 years ago that is now my goal. These are the things I would share with the young person who asks me how to live his life.
You mortals, the Lord has told you what is good. This is what the Lord requires from you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to live humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
Would I tell the young person about productivity plans, business outlines, and long range goals? Maybe, probably not. There is value in making plans because it focuses you and creates a discipline you need to succeed. But I am finding that as you do what is right, love mercy, and humbly follow God He takes you places you never thought you would do or go. His plans in the end are far better than anything we can imagine or plan. His thoughts or truly bigger than whatever I can plan. Our job is to walk humbly with Him and then we will be amazed.