Sometime early in your freshman year I said to you, “Blink three times and you’ll be seniors getting measured for your graduation robes.” I could tell by the “Whatever, Mr. T…” looks I got that you didn’t believe me. Time may have seemed to stand still doing algebra homework. Those hours notwithstanding, the years passed quickly, yes?
My friend Lori says, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it spins.” Being well past the halfway point myself, I can tell you it’s true. Each day has 24 hours. Yet the older one gets, the faster it seems to go. I promise you going forward, life doesn’t slow down. Time is our most precious commodity.
Speaking of time and before there was such a measurement, we talked often about Psalm 139 in Bible class. The fact that God had all your days written down in His book before there was yet one of them. The God of the universe put time and forethought into your life. That should make you feel incredibly valued. And because we know it’s impossible for a perfect, all-knowing, sovereign God to pen a day in His book that has no purpose, it stands to reason that there are no “throw away days” in God’s economy. Every day of your life drips with God ordained purpose.
Through your high school years I’ve told you, “I’m not your Dad. But you’re my kids.” I’ve been very Papa Bear with you. Those feelings won’t change. I’ll always want the best for you. I’ll always be wondering how you are. What you are doing. How you are succeeding. How you are growing in God and in your relationships. How you are using your gifts and talents to further God’s kingdom.
To that end, humor me as I send you off with some Papa Bear thoughts:
Live with a sense of urgency. Not panic. Panic implies chaos. God is large and in charge of His world. Live with a sense of confident urgency that in God’s economy every minute matters. Because it does.
Never check your brains at the door. God gave you a wonderful mind. Use it. Always think critically and biblically.
Never apologize for what God has made you good at. Always point back to Him as the source of your talent and gifting. But never apologize for what He has made you good at. Use those abilities for your good and His glory.
Be kind. To everyone. Always. No exceptions.
Be generous. Remember God is your Source. He will supply all your needs.
Remember there is something better than being anything you want to be. And that’s being the person God made you to be. There are few joys greater than living and working within that which God has wired you.
Don’t worry about the future. Max out the present moment and the future will take care of itself.
God loves you for who you are. Not for what you do. Remember the danger of the “performance trap”. Learn to live in grace as a redeemed and forgiven person.
Make memories on purpose. Every day. Take the pictures. Save the concert ticket stubs. Take the road trips. Then write it all down in your journals. When you get to be an old guy like me, you’ll appreciate it.
Remember John Wayne’s advice. “Life’s hard. But it’s harder when you’re stupid.” Make wise decisions.
Live in God’s Word. It’s where you’ll find your purpose and the wisdom to live it out.
Remember God’s timing is often different than ours. He may be slow, but He is never late.
Have some fun every day. But don’t get too crazy. Remember it’s all fun and games till someone loses an eye 🙂
In 10 years or less (and beyond), wherever you are please keep in touch. God-willing I live that long, I will delight in seeing you in your families, ministries, and careers. For starters, call me on your next Christmas break and we’ll do coffee. I’d love to hear about your new life beyond the high school bubble.
Finally, know this…
Whatever good God has allowed me to be for you, you will never know the blessing you have been in my life. You’ve made me laugh. Your kindness has brought me to tears. You’ve encouraged me through hard seasons. Many days when you thought I was teaching you, you were teaching me. You will always be remembered with great joy and fondness. It’s been a privilege and honor to study God’s truth with you. I am thankful that for this short season of life God saw fit to put us on the same page in His book.
With much love and anticipation of great things,
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
– 3 John 1:4
Todd A. Thompson – One Eye Out