Reflections on My Last Ten Years
This Monday is a significant anniversary of sorts for Aundrea and me, but since I’m going to do another “Monday Quotables” that day, I figured I’d write about Monday’s milestone today.
On September 10, 1997, Aundrea and I drove a 15-foot U-Haul loaded with everything we owned into the parking lot of the Berean Baptist Church in Livonia, Michigan. Hard to believe it was ten years ago. I know it's cliché, but it really does feel like yesterday.
When I stop and think about it though, I can see amazing changes since then. Our seven-person family was then two. Livonia gave way to Louisville, back to Livonia, and finally to Colorado. We’re replaced both our vehicles, our wardrobes, most of our furniture, and our skin cells several times over (if my high school biology serves me correctly).
It’s interesting for me to think back to those days. Ten years ago I had never…
- been a parent,
- heard of John Piper,
- endured a church split,
- led a wedding ceremony,
- cared about Michigan football,
- shared a meal with a missionary,
- been baptized after my conversion(!),
- experienced the death of a close friend,
- counseled someone considering suicide, or
- considered how the gospel affects my daily life.
Seize the day. If these ten years took only a blink to pass by, what does that say about my entire life?! I’d better stay focused on making it count. Looking back makes me more resolved than ever to spend each moment as wisely as possible. TV is out; family time is in. Gaming on my cell phone is out; reading is in. Mindless hobbies are out; dates with my wife are in.
Love my family. The changes of this last decade remind me that I’m not guaranteed anything. How foolish for me to obsess over stupid drivel and argue with my wife or get hacked off at my kids.
Regulate my spending. I wish I had given more money to kingdom work over the last 10 years. But instead, I’ve frittered away $25 here and $40 there, figuring that my little percentage-based giving was good enough. The regrettable result has been that I’ve turned down dozens of requests for help from short-term missionaries, needy folks in my own community, and those ubiquitous World Vision people.
Cherish the gospel. I think the single biggest change in me over the last ten years has been an awakening sense of the importance of living and applying the gospel every day. I’m grateful to God for that change, but it’s one that I feel is only just beginning. Looking back over these years makes me more thankful than ever for the cross of Christ, because I know that every bad thing was (or will be) overcome by the cross and every good thing was purchased for me by the cross:
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Rom 8:32In the words of my hero, John Newton:
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.