There are times as we journey throughout life when some men wisely take some "Me Time" to reflect upon the direction they are heading and what they hope to achieve within their lifetime. This reflection often includes identifying goals they need to set in areas such as their health, their finances and family life etc. But I would like to suggest to you that it may be even more important to understand the type of person we want to become in life rather than merely what we want to acquire from life.
As I get closer to my 60th year upon this world it becomes increasingly important to me that I do not waste the time I have been given and that the things that I do each day truly matter. I have gotten to know many people over the years in the changing seasons that have made up my lifespan to date, and it is my greatest desire to see each and everyone of them become the very best version of themselves.
Thankfully some of those I have known have truly become people that I am honoured to call my friends, while others it seems have become distracted by the many opportunities that the world seems to offer.
We usually get to meet a wide range of people as we travel through life, some we meet at school or within our chosen sport, while others become our friends through social gatherings. Some of those we have known over the years may have acquired great wealth and live a lifestyle of the rich and famous, some may have achieved academic or professional excellence and are afforded great respect from their peers. But in my experience most of those we have met, like us, have merely done the best they could in the midst of the various circumstances they found themselves in.
It's important to realise that although we as fathers have a God given responsibility to provide for our families, that many of the things that are highly esteemed within the world have little or no eternal significance. Many of these achievements are merely external and not intricately part of our being as a human and when we leave this world much of it will pass away and be forgotten.
The value of a mans life is not found in the sum total of the possessions he has acquired, but is found in the type of person he has become.
A Matter of Focus
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
I think the main thought that I am trying to get across in this blog is perfectly summed up in the above words of Jesus Christ. When we are young and we have our whole life ahead of us, it is only natural to think about what we want become and what we want to achieve. But in my experience when most young men are considering what they want to become it more often than not means "what profession they want to follow", rather than the type of person they want to be on the inside.
The trouble with this perception is that it fails to consider eternal truths and realities and often results in a failure to secure the most important asset we as men have, namely our eternal soul!
I have seen many young men that I have known lose their way in life because they forgot to focus on things of eternal importance
The End Game
While I was serving in various pastoral roles over the years I was sometimes requested to visit sick and dying people both in hospital and in their homes. Sometimes it was the relatives of the patient requesting my visit and at other times the patient themselves desired to talk about their life and do their best to ensure they were ready to step into their eternity.
While talking to those who knew that they were about to die and leave this world, I never once met a man who wished he had spent more time at work, or that he had bought a bigger house or a faster car. If they had regrets about the life they had lived it was usually that they didn't spend enough time with their families, or express their love for them in ways that could be understood and appreciated.
As we stand on the threshold of entering eternity the real priorities in life become more and more apparent, and many of the things we previously esteemed in life fade away into insignificance.
The bond that a man develops with his family is often his greatest treasure while upon this world, but there is a treasure far greater available for those men who have grasped the reality of heaven and the afterlife.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”
These words of Jesus Christ set in order a priority of life that every man should follow. By seeking and loving God as our first priority we are transformed and enabled to then love our fellow man (and especially our families) in a way that will be a blessing to all we meet in life.
Becoming the best version of yourself is not reliant merely upon your own strength of character or will power, if it was there would be far less tragedy in the world and far more wonderful things happening.
Connecting with God our creator brings a transformation on the inside of man and beholding and learning from the life of Jesus Christ gives us a life example to follow that will continue to change us into the best version of ourselves!
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