Whatever age we are, whether young or more often as we get older, there are times when we look back on our lives, take stock of where we are, and look to the future. For most people this will include our education, choosing which courses to follow to obtain the right qualifications for the job we have chosen to do. As well as career we find ourselves developing our circle of friends, and as we move from childhood to adolescence and adulthood we may find one special friend to share our lives with. All of this may come naturally but some decisions like marriage demand more thought and planning than others. So we progress through our lives with some indication of where we would like to go, although circumstances may arise that changes our whole plan!

There are also times in our lives when we consider not only our secular lives, but our spiritual lives too. If you will forgive a little personal illustration, for me as I come to a landmark birthday next year, I will have lived for the three score years and ten spoken of in Psalm 90: 10 (CEV) We can expect seventy years, or maybe eighty, if we are healthy, but even our best years bring trouble and sorrow. Suddenly our time is up, and we disappear. I may have, I hope, a little longer but I remember around the time of my 35th birthday giving much thought to the fact that my life was half over and what had I done to advance God’s kingdom? I had been taken to chapel weekly since I was a few weeks old. I had Christian parents, for which I thank God, even if I did not always acknowledge that fact at the time! I had made a personal commitment to Jesus when young, was baptised but at thirty five what had I actually done? There was little or no fruit to show for my years of attending church.

It was at Spring Harvest, a Christian holiday week at Easter, that I was challenged to be more proactive in my Christian life. We were asked to take a small length of ribbon to place in our bibles to remind us of the commitment we made that day to listen for God’s prompting more intentionally. To say yes, rather than maybe. To give a greater emphasis to my Christian life. I was still attending chapel regularly, helping to run the youth work, but God had a plan for my life. Life went in new direction, new church, new responsibility, new challenges, God took us through a time of adversity, to knowing him more intimately, but that is another story. I still have the bible and ribbon, and although you cannot use a physical ribbon in an iPad, when decisions come I remember and say, this may not be easy but if God is asking, I am here and with his help I will endeavour to do whatever he is asking of me.

I do not know your story, none of us know for certain how many years we have left to serve God, or what he will ask us to do, but my experience has been that if you go through the motions there is little to show for it. However being fully committed will not be easy but will be so much more rewarding, as we grow to know God more and more, and have the unbelievable privilege of seeing him working in our lives every day. May we all be able, when the time comes, to echo Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4: 6-8 (CEV) Now the time has come for me to die. My life is like a drink offering being poured out on the altar. I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful. So a crown will be given to me for pleasing the Lord. He judges fairly, and on the day of judgment he will give a crown to me and to everyone else who wants him to appear with power