You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 1 Thessalonians 2:1 NIV
I read a book in my 20’s (I’m knocking on 60’s door) called Ordering Your Private World by Gordon McDonald. Now at 81, he shares how each decade of your life has major themes. The following transcription is a synopsis of those themes from a podcast by L3 leadership. I encourage you to read or listen to the whole broadcast when you get the time.
Well, when you hit life in the eighties, you know, start from that end. It’s like standing on the top of a very tall mountain and looking down the trail for all of those 80 years. And you can spot certain events and people all the way through the years that made a difference. It caused you to make a right turn or a left turn.
So when I look back at my twenties and the 20’s of most people, I see that often as a period of time where we’re making a choice of how am I going to invest my life? What, you know, what directions am I likely to walk? And secondly, who am I going to spend my time with? Namely, am I going to marry or not married? Um , and who are going to be my core friends? I get it started at point. So the twenties that that time on we are establishing direction and relationship.
Then you slip into your thirties and you’re doing all these things, and you’re busy. You may have married somebody, you may even have a child or two, and life suddenly overnight gets very complicated and expensive. And a lot of decisions have to be made in the early thirties. That one really was not that cognizant of in their twenties. It’s a decade of getting organized.
The forties are a period of time where we often, we now have enough years in what we’re doing, and it becomes a time of assessment. Do I really like what I’m doing? Am I effective? Am I doing too much too little? Am I disappointed in myself? And I’m thankful , um, it can be a period where the marriage gets reevaluated and you have to make corrections there. We’re now watching our children move up into teen years. So the forties are a very important period of life to prepare us for the second half of life.
Our fifties, are great years of contribution when we’ve put it all together. And we’re , um, we’re really humming along with whatever it is that God has given us as a gift to do in our sixties. We probably need to start recognizing there’s a horizon down the road where what I’m doing won’t happen anymore.
So my sixties are really the question. Who’s going to step into my shoes. Who can I train? Who will be the people who will bear my trademark on them after it’s time for me to leave whatever I do.
I hope this doesn’t sound too gloomy, but our seventies are often the period of loss. You start losing people. You pick up the phone about once every week or two, and find out that somebody you love admire , um , has died. And so it can be a very challenging decade as we see life slimming down.
Now I’m in my eighties, almost two thirds of my closest bestest friends are now gone. And it makes you then begin to think, well, how much longer do I have left? And how can I, how long can I keep on doing the things that identify me? So there are these little themes that show themselves every seven to 10 years, and I want to make sure I’m always looking forward to what the next team smells like. So that when I get there, I’m not surprised.
Paul looked at the impact he had on people’s lives to validate his effectiveness. “Results” in many translations is the term “in vain”. In Greek this word means emptiness. Paul was reminding the Thessalonians that his ministry work left an imprint on their lives. It was not empty, but had results. Real change had taken place. People had made life altering decisions based upon Paul’s preaching and their faith and trust in God.
I’m knocking on the door of my sixties and I understand what Gordon mentions about investing in those who are engaged in building, organizing and assessing their lives. Jesus’ final fruit offering to God was the impact that he had made on his disciples.
Legacy is the trail of footprints stamped upon hearts that lead to the hope of another day. Legacy is the next section of scaffolding built for those building their own testimony. Legacy embraces failure as the unique identifiers of your brick in the wall of humanity. Legacy is woven into the conversations of laughter, joy, sorrow, redemption, encouragement and trust.
One final quote from Gordon on the podcast as he ponders life at 81. “I don’t feel like I’ve got to do anything new these days. I’m just doing old stuff the same time over.” What’s the old stuff? Spending time listening to and encouraging those younger than him.
Blessings Love y’all