by Jim Ramsey
Would you like the world to be a better place for your having been here?” This is the question posed by Ken Blanchard in his forward to Bob Bickel’s book Finishing Well. The premise of the book and its entire focus is on individuals who had a plan that they followed in an effort to make their later life one of significance, not just one of success. Bickel speaks of “Life I” when we have to “prove ourselves,” and “Life II” when we should “give back and make a difference.”
We are seeing what has been called “the graying of America,” the dramatic increase in the number of “seniors” in our population. One study (2016, Aging in the United States) reveals: “the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double, from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise to nearly 24 percent from 15 percent.”
As a member of this exploding “senior set” I must come to grips with this question: Am I finished, or am I finishing well?” It’s natural in later life to slow down due to decline in physical abilities, but I must never have a mindset of “I’m done” or “I have no contribution to make.” It’s a fact that many people, men especially, die relatively soon after they “retire,” having lost their sense of purpose and direction. How can I make the world a better place for my having spent time here? How can I “finish my course with joy” as Paul the Apostle determined to do? A few suggestions:
1.Reflect on God’s amazing gift of both physical and spiritual life.
2.Remind myself daily that as long as I have life, God has a purpose for my being here.
3.Realize that no contribution that I make to His cause is insignificant.
4.Remember that my greatest investment in life is in people, and therefore never ends.
5.Rejoice in the privilege of knowing and serving One Who knows what is best for me and will reward faithfulness to Him.
As a senior, I must not forget that since I know Christ, I have every necessary resource at my disposal to enable me to finish well the course that God has set for me, and I am determined to do so!