Those who know me are aware of my high value of periodic reflection on one’s life. I like the annual rhythm at the end of each year. I usually uncover a theme for the year, sometimes a surprising one. The theme of transition has been a regular one, as has education and family. Other times it’s been a year about visitors, illness or travel.
I’ve also lived long enough to summarize my life in decades. This is VERY different than just one year.
Psalm 90, written by Moses, says, “The length of our days is seventy years – or eighty, if we have the strength.” (v 10a NIV) And Moses had strength beyond that! “Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.” (Deuteronomy 34:7 NIV)
Moses had some remarkable years, but many of them were likely ordinary for his situation – early life in Pharoah’s palace, mid-ilfe tending sheep, last forty years wandering the desert. I bet each year had a theme.
But the themes of his life are remarkable!
- He was a man of rescue, starting as a baby lifted out of the Nile in a basket and ending with a rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
- He was a shepherd, of his father-in-law’s sheep, then of God’s people in the desert.
- He was a leader.
- He was a man of courage and faith in God.
- He was bold, confronting Pharoah and meeting with God. He even argued with God! And God decided to use that spitfire of a man to give His people the Ten Commandments.
The list could go on, but I think you get my point. Look what Moses accomplished in twelve decades as he journeyed through life with God.
Moses acknowledged God’s presence with His enslaved and wandering people like this: “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home.” (v 1, NLT) As God’s story developed through the generations of His people in different locations, His presence was their only sense of home. I can imagine Moses coming to this discovery during his decades in the wilderness tending sheep.
What has God been up to in your life, either in a year or, more importantly, in decades? As you think through this I hope you discover more about yourself and God’s work in your life. Are you in the right place now? Are you headed in the right direction for the future?
If done well, you will find that each year and decade builds upon the other. In my life, here’s what I’ve found:
- Decade 1 – foundation in family
- Decade 2 – foundation in faith
- Decade 3 – preparation
- Decade 4 – African bush life (the storybook decade)
- Decade 5 – leadership development and the launching of our children
- Decade 6 – travel and global influence, the joy of a growing family
- Decade 7…. – tbd
I turn 60 next year. I have not been perfect and I’m still a sinful man. I would like to go back and do some things differently. But I have been faithful, and I’m still excited about life under God and where He will lead Connie and I. Through all the generations and decades, wherever we have lived and served, God has been our Home.
Do you have a decade list?
Do you have some annual themes?
Has God been your home in all your wanderings?
Are you teaching the next generation about God’s work and presence available to all of us?
Til next week, here are some pictures taken through the years…