We are not getting any younger and I feel that especially today since it is my birthday. Have you ever felt that your best years are behind you rather than ahead of you?
New Years Eve four years ago, was especially memorable since I was turning the big 5-0. I was feeling exactly that way, like my youth was in the rear view mirror and I was never able to accomplish what I desired when I was younger. That very year, I attended a session at the Kingdom Advisors Conference that really spoke to me about the way I was feeling.
The speaker, Lloyd Reeb, from HalfTime Institute, helped me realize that my best years were actually ahead of me. Why? He explained the years where you have the most influence, know the most people, have gained the most wisdom and can have the greatest impact are when you are between age 50 – 80.
Fast forward and I now see that this is true. I have met some amazing and influential people since that time (not to diminish in any way those I knew before). A person’s impact in life continues to build so I am believing for an even greater impact in the year ahead.
Thanks to all who sent me greetings on my birthday but I have a wish for you. May the years ahead be much more impactful the the years you have already lived!! Happy New Year!
It’s that time of year again when we get to take some time off and make special memories with family. Our family loves to watch movies during the holiday season and one of my favourites is: “It’s A Wonderful Life.” My son messaged me this week and said, “Dad, it looks like you’re in good company with your favourite Christmas movie choice.”
It’s A Wonderful Life is a classic festive feel-good film about a man who has devoted his life to helping others.
But when he tries to take his own life a guardian angel stops him and shows him the value of his life.
The reason I like this movie so much is because it reminds me, in some ways, of my own life. Simply put life doesn’t always go the way we might have envisioned, but this movie serves as a great reminder that the impact of our life is usually greater than we realize, especially when life is not necessarily pleasant.
In the movie, Clarence, a guardian angel, shows George Bailey the value of his life by having him see what his community and the lives he knew so well would be like if he had not actually lived. If we had not ever lived, the lives of those we love and care about would not be the same at all. In essence, their lives would be the lesser without us. The movie is a reminder that one life enriches and can change the lives of others without realizing it.
It’s interesting that the very thing that was such a burden (his work and its challenges) became the very thing that brought the greatest level of pleasure and fulfillment in the end. Clarence gave him a different perspective which made all the difference for George Bailey. Sometimes all we need is a fresh perspective – one which causes us to see that even when our lives are messy, broken and not how we would like it to be, there is still an element that is actually wonderful.
Do you realize that your life adds meaning to those around you? Have you ever thought about your family, your co-workers and friends and wondered what their lives would look like if you were not present?
Have you noticed you are seeing a lot of extra messages in the past several days? Whether on social media or even your inbox, these messages are intended to entice you to purchase more, then maybe, give some of it away.
It’s interesting that this advertising campaign follows the Thanksgiving holiday where Americans have a day to be thankful for all they have. Then Black Friday, which turns into a weekend event that culminates on Cyber Monday, is actually about getting more or updating what you already have. We are all encouraged to spend more and in many cases we are spending more than we are earning. It doesn’t seem to matter the cost, as long as we have the latest and the greatest. All the advertising encourages us to increase our standard of living.
Have you ever calculated how much of your income goes to living? In other words, how much is simply consumed. Typically 50% – 70% of what you receive goes toward lifestyle. Is it any wonder that so many struggle financially? Then comes Giving Tuesday, which is meant to help us re-focus to increase our standard of giving.
Sadly, we have typically increased our standard of living so significantly, there is not much left to increase our standard of giving.
There must be a better way and there is … it is called stewardship! The dictionary defines a steward as “a person who looks after someone on a ship, aircraft or train.” It is also defined as an official who supervises a public event, orone who manages or looks after another’s property.
So ask yourself, do you see all of your property as your own or do you see it as belonging to another? If you ask most followers of Christ, “Does God own it all,” the immediate response is “Yes, God owns it all.” Living that out can be quite challenging though, because if God truly owns what we possess, then we need to be consulting the owner when making our management decisions. We need to know the heart of the owner because all of our spending decisions are really spiritual decisions.
So considering that God is the owner of our finances and we are the stewards or managers of what has been entrusted to us, do you think the owner is pleased with our management? Consider the days that have just passed: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. Which of those days do you think the Owner is most excited about? And which of those days are you as the manager most excited about? If the manager knows the heart of the owner, wouldn’t the manager and owner be excited about the same days?
This is exactly the point; we are to see ourselves as managers of what God has entrusted to us. Part of the reason the owner gives us so much is actually for our enjoyment, but our greatest task as manager is to know His heart. So as a popular christian song says, “break my heart for what breaks Yours.”
Here’s an interesting question: when you receive a pay-raise or bonus, what increases – your standard of living or your standard of giving?Maybe it is a good idea to put a cap on your living expenses; that way when increase comes, it can be more easily directed to your giving. If you are truly a steward, you will manage your financial affairs to please the owner, not necessarily to satisfy your own desires. Then the owner is pleased to entrust more for you to manage – more to be thankful for and more excitement to give than to spend.