Yes, I can hear the funeral music cranking up in the background. I am “over the hill”, “one foot in the bucket”, “buyin’ the daisy seeds I will one day push up”. All of that and many other heart-warming and friendly phrases will probably be brought to me today now that I am officially “getting up there”.
So, I have been thinking a lot this weekend about what 40 means to me. I mean if you stop and ask the average person on the street, I am due for my mid-life crisis sometime within the next 5 years, so what do I want to do with that? Is there some crazy, wild, irresponsible thing that I would like to tear off and do without giving thought to the ramifications?
In a word, “NO”.
If anything, this birthday is giving me a moment to pause and think about what I have been blessed with. I have a godly wife I am madly in love with, and two great kids that are growing in God. I have a Christian extended family that I am very grateful to God for the love and support I have received from them and continue to receive. I have a church family that cares and builds us up. I have a few really good friends I can count on and call when I am struggling with something. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back and more than enough food in my more than ample belly! I’m a rich man.
So, what does turning 40 mean?
The primary thought I have had in my head this weekend as I have pondered this question is “finish it.” No, I am not suicidal! This thought of finishing it has been brought to my mind because I want to finish my life well. There are a lot of things in my life I want to see to completion, and I want my own life to be as complete as possible before I shuffle from this mortal coil. Things I want to do with my wife, my kids, my personal and spiritual growth, my career, and a lot of other things as well. There is a lot left to do, and I want to do it.
Culturally here in the US we are given a certain year that we are “in the second half” of life, and I would argue with a lot of people that this is the one. Is it? I have a friend lying in a hospital bed in Georgia this morning. He’s a year older than me. I’ve lost friends growing up that never saw 20 or 30. What is the second half? How do you know when you are there? You don’t.
Christ lived for 33 years on this earth, and in the last three He devoted Himself to His ministry that would culminate with His death on the cross to save each of us from our sins before being resurrected and with that, give us eternal life. As he hung there on the cross, His last words are the ones that echo in my mind today:
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30
He finished what He came here to do. When He was done, He left others to continue His work until He comes back to take us home. The thought here is that He was working until He was finished. That is what I want to focus on as I move forward past this “threshold” date in my life. I’m not finished until I am no longer fogging a mirror. I have work to do that was given to me by my heavenly Father before the world was spun into existence by His Word. It will not stop until I die.
So, my thought for turning 40 might not be as inspiring as some would put together, but here it is:
I have things I need to do in my life before I go. I need to be the husband, father, and friend that God would have me to be. I need to stay active physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and teach others to do the same. I need to stay focused on what God has put before me and seek how to use the talents and gifts He has given me to do that task. I need to stay close to God through His Word, and through prayer, and through time with His people. I need to be sensitive to His leading in my life and then act! I need to be a bold, courageous man of God. I need to finish my life well.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7
I hope this encourages someone to do the same.