Life Accomplishments

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. – Psalm 90:10-12

As the above verses state, our time here on earth is so fleeting. I definitely feel the need of teaching from the Lord, that I might spend my time wisely. Evidently there are many other folk who have similar feelings, for it is common to hear warnings of “The Tyranny of the Urgent,” or “The Tyranny of Circumstances.” People are afraid that distractions or impediments will keep them from accomplishing what they were meant to accomplish in this life.

As a Christian, I accept the fact that God made me, and that my purpose in life is to glorify Him in all things. In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 1 asks, What is the chief end of man? The answer given is Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. Or, in I Corinthians 10:31 we read: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. So, the basic underlying assumption I’m making here is that the reader, like me, is a Christian who loves the Lord with her whole heart, and desires to glorify Him in all things.

Another assumption is that the reader is probably American or Canadian, or from some other affluent nation. With our labor we are able to secure our food, clothing, shelter and much more beside, and still have time and energy left over to ask, “How may I wisely spend my time here, to God’s glory?” Our energies are not totally consumed in a struggle for bare survival, as is the case for so many of our brothers and sisters in war-torn or poor countries.

The choices of vocation and activities and interests available to us in our relatively free nations can be mind-boggling. How do we narrow these down, and make the most of ourselves and our time here? Some self-knowledge is useful:

  1. What are my aptitudes? I need not worry about becoming an athlete, for example, if I don’t have the ability to excel in sports.
  2. What are my interests? If I am extremely interested in brain development, an educational or medical career may be feasible.
  3. What are my resources? Do I have, or can I obtain assistance with the finances necessary for particular training in which I am interested?
  4. What talents have I developed? A person who keeps a sketch book, who delights to draw and paint, and who thinks of new projects and completes them, may have a realistic hope of becoming an artist.
  5. What do I simply enjoy doing, when there are no pressing demands? This can be a further indication of true interests. What volunteer opportunities do I pursue, for example?

The next step is to start making the choices that are clear, based upon self-knowledge and circumstances. These choices help to limit us in a helpful way, so that we know where to focus our attention. Proverbs 17:24 says Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth. We will never accomplish anything worthwhile if we cannot focus our attention on some goal.

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