Thursday, March 30, 2006

Reflecting on my 25 Years: Gratitude & Regrets

Having just turned 25, I reflect on my life in two ways: (1) with gratitude to God for saving me and and allowing me to serve Him, despite my foolishness, immaturity and lack of grace, and, (2) with sadness at how much I have wasted, how many opportunities to serve the Lord I have lost, and how little I have prayed and obeyed.

Encouraged by the fact that God is not finished with me yet, let me share with you three verses and four quotes that the Lord has been bringing to my mind again and again recently. May He use them to bring reflection, conviction, and action - for His glory.

Jeremiah 45:5 says,

"Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not."

I think Jim Elliot's martyrdom in Ecuador by the Auca tribe would have been worth it if only for this quote that has challenged so many:

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

William MacDonald was on the fast-track to success as a Harvard MBA when God got a hold of him and turned his life into something that, through a writing ministry, would deepen the faith and obedience of millions around the world. One of his books, "True Discipleship" (buy on GFP or Amazon), of which there are over one million copies in print, challenges Christians to live lives of discipleship to Christ so radical, it almost seems too much. But is it? Referring to the following passage, MacDonald writes,

"So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple" - Luke 14:33

"To be a disciple of the Lord Jesus, one must forsake all. ... No matter how much we might object to such an 'extreme' demand, no matter how much we might rebel against such an 'impossible' and 'unwise' policy, the fact remains that this the Word of the Lord, and He means what He says. ... Jesus did not make this demand of a certain, select class of Christian workers. He said 'Whoever of you...' He did not say that we must simply be willing to forsake all. He said, 'whoever of you does not forsake...' He did not say that we must forsake only a part of our wealth. He said, 'whoever of you does not forsake all that he has...' He did not say that a diluted form of discipleship would be possible for the man who holds on to his treasures. Jesus said, 'he... cannot be My disciple.'"

By an unknown author:

Only one life,
twill soon be past.
Only what's done for Christ
will last.

In his book, "Don't Waste Your Life" (download free, or buy on Amazon), John Piper (all of his books and MP3 sermons are free on quotes an old man who became a Christian at the end of his life after refusing to repent and accept the Saviour for years:

"I've wasted it!"

How much better to, at the end of one's life, be able to say with the apostle Paul (who, encouragingly, only began to serve the Lord later in life),

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy 4:6-8
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Blogger SeanLovesVera said...

I, too, have been reflecting on the brevity, uncertainty and frailty of life, as I turn 40 in a month! I was saved half my life ago and so I claim the same verse I read in Aug. 1985 "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).

I pray... "Heavenly Father, bless Nigel and his blog. Thank You for his transparent words that stirred me in my walk with You, for Your glory, amen."

8:53 AM  
Blogger Nigel Paul said...

Thanks for your thoughts, encouragement and prayers, Sean. What a privilege it is to be used at all by God.

12:42 PM  

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