Sometimes we can get so caught up in the hectic day-to-day flurry of activity that we can lose sight of some important things of this life. Few are guiltier of this than me.
I came across an article from christianitytoday.com that caught my interest; it is entitled “10 Things You Should Do Before Going to Heaven.” In deference to the blog format, I am going to talk about several of them in this posting, then consider the others in future postings. These are not in any particular order.
Reconnect with a Long Lost Friend
This really hit home with me. My wife and I have moved 10 times during our marriage. With every move we left dear friends behind with all the good intentions of keeping in touch. Of course it almost never happened. We’d get busy at the new place, meeting new friends, and before long we had lost touch with the ones left behind.
One friend in particular comes to mind. You may know him: Gene Esham of Millsboro, Delaware, known to everyone as “Gerb.” For two critical years in my late teens, Gerb was my best friend. I trusted him with my life. He was my best man at my wedding. We kept in touch for awhile after I got married and moved away but gradually we lost touch. I haven’t talked with him for 35 years.
I am going to find his address and reach out to him. I want to see what he’s doing, meet his kids and grandkids; I want him to meet mine. I want to sit around with him, tell each other lies about how we haven’t changed a bit, relive some old memories, and make some new ones.
Refuse to Act Your Age
I am thinking more and more about a quote from one of my childhood sports heroes, Mickey Mantle. The Mick, who suffered from terrible injuries from playing baseball and the terrible ravages of a lifetime of alcohol abuse said toward the end of his life “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
Age has a way of giving you a new perspective. However, the passing of the years is no excuse for acting like a grumpy old man. Though teenage cashiers at restaurants automatically give me the “Senior Citizen Discount” without even asking, I am going to refuse to act old. That means I will not:
- Drive down the highway in the right lane at 40 mph for ten miles with my blinker on.
- Tell young people how much better music, movies, clothes, or kids were in “my day.”
- Retire, sit around, and do nothing but complain about the government.
- Buy a rocking chair.
- Live in the past.
- Be a general complainer about everything from the music at church to the service in Wal-Mart.
To me this does mean I will:
- Laugh more and help others to laugh as well.
- Enjoy the present I have with my family, my friends, and my ministry.
- Refuse to live in fear of anything, even getting older.
- Learn to play the guitar and play it publicly.
- Every once and awhile just act silly.
Spend a Day Alone with God
I have been in ministry a long time; I left my career in retailing to answer God’s call to ministry. I am busy with many tasks every day that are part of my ministry. My calendar is filled with commitments and appointments.
I need to clear my calendar and just spend an entire day with God. This is not some elaborate ritual to be performed in hopes of gaining brownie points with God. It is to simply spend time with Him with no agenda, no prayer list, no sermon preparation, and no problem needing an immediate solution.
This will be a day of getting reconnected, the same kind of regular reconnecting we need with our spouses, our children, and our friends. I have never been very good at this—see item #1 about finding my once best friend. So, I will spend a day just hanging out with the One with whom I will spend eternity.
There you have it—the beginning of my “To Do Before Heaven List.” I’ll continue this in later postings but meantime, I’d be interested in hearing what’s on your list.