To day completes my 47th complete trip around the sun. I have never been a big fan of my birthdays, I do appreciate the people in my life who try to make the day special, but I don’t like being the center of attention. But birthdays do have a way of getting me thinking. As I think, certain realizations come: Some days it seems unbelievable that I am this firmly in the grips of middle-age. Other days it feels like I am getting close to what ever the next stage is (older middle age, or just old age? Yikes!). I can clearly remember my father at the age I am now (wow!). My children are all adults, no more permission slips or naming a guardian in case of my untimely demise. (ohh!). I can see lines in my face and gray in my beard (ouch!). Others my age look really old (no!). In dog years I would be 329 (glad I am not a dog!). My heart has beat 1.8 billion times (I wonder how many it has left?). And last but most profound – life is really short. I know this because I got to this point fast. I also know it because the Apostle James reached this conclusion by divine inspiration a couple of thousand years ago.
“For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away?” (James 4:14)
I am not quite ready to be known as a wise old sage. Or even a wise sage. But a few bits of wisdom considering life is short would include the following: 1. Make every day count. 2. I don’t have time to waste feeling sorry for myself. 3. Every experience is an opportunity to learn. 4. People are more important than anything else, they last forever. 5. Laugh more, complain less. 6. Life is not about me. 7. Life is about bringing glory to God.
If you want to add your own bits of sage advice – please feel free to leave a comment.
I have been a keeper of fish for more than 30 years. Currently there is 55 gallons of water in my office housing a few swimming friends. At home are three more. One is Brandon’s tank, which those of us at home have adopted since he is away at college. This is the one that housed Curly – a “prize at the fair” goldfish that he had for nearly 10 years. Brian has one that brightens up the hallway in our basement. Aquariums are good for you, psychological studies a have shown that observing a peaceful aquarium can lower your blood pressure. In my mind they are living, moving work of art, a cross-section into the world below the surface.
I have learned this over the years. That fish outside there natural habitat require significant, maintenance, supervision and care. Some of the required items include:
- Water constantly filtered
- Water oxygenated via an air pump
- Water warmed to a proper temperature by means of an electric heater
- Lighted by a florescent light fixture
- water maintained a proper PH by chemicals
- Water chemically declorinated
A few years ago in South America I remember looking into a drainage ditch and was surprised to see fish that I could swear I had seen in a pet shop back in the states. In their natural habitat a ditch will do, out of there natural habitat it takes hundreds of dollars of equipment and a not so small investment in time to keep the scaly ones healthy and happy.
Christians are also not in their native environment. Spiritually we are citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20). Positionally we are in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6). Practically we are camped out on planet earth. It takes a great deal of care on God’s part to keep us healthy and flourishing in this non-natural world. He must limit the amount of temptation we receive (1 Cor. 10:13 ). He must provide us with proper nutrition (1 Pet. 2:2 ). And He must constantly monitor our condition (Matt. 28:20).
As God pears into my little cross-section of a world I hope he finds a grateful, growing part of His creation.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20)