40 Years From Now

023by Melissa McDonald

Who do you want to be like in 40 years? And how will you get there?

Who do you want to be like in 40 years? Go ahead, calculate. How old will you be in 40 years? Who do you know and admire who’s that age? (If that puts you over 100 years old you can ask, “Who do I want to be when I’m 97?”)

Throughout the Bible we are asked to look at the end of life and see where a life of wisdom and godliness leads and contrast that with a life of sin and foolishness. And then ask ourselves, “Which path to I want to walk on?”

Paul gives us a list of good works that mark women who have lived lives devoted to Jesus:

Let a widow be enrolled [to be provided for by the church] if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.  1 Timothy 5:9-10

But here’s the thing: no one wakes up one morning and discovers that their resume includes this nice list. It was uncomfortable when she knelt to wash the feet of the saints. She was probably pregnant and tired when she welcomed guests into her home. It was inconvenient and dirty to care for the afflicted when she already had enough on her plate with her own family.

This is a list of work. Hard work. And these good works don’t always feel spiritual the way studying the life of Jesus does. But this is the claim of the gospels: when we know God, we become like him. And our good deeds — our hard work — is actually the Holy Spirit in us making us more like our Savior.

So think about who you want to be at the end of our journey and begin asking these questions:

  • What habit was she forming at your age?
  • What was she saying “no” to?
  • What will it cost you now to be like her in 40 years?
  • Is it worth the cost to be like her?

And then pick one place to begin. Do you need to begin by cutting something out of your life? Or re-prioritizing relationships? Or being disciplined in a Spiritual habit? How will you do that? What will that look like this week?

Talk with a friend. Share your desires to be marked by godliness and your ideas of what kind of work it’s going to take to get there. Encourage and pray for each other; ask God for the grace to be marked by good deeds. Follow up and ask how it’s going when you bump into each other. And if neither of you are growing good deeds when you meet up, repent and ask for grace to work at it again.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…Hebrews 10:24

Profile PicMelissa McDonald (@melissabmcd) and her husband Eric serve and disciple international students at the University of Iowa with their two daughters, Miriam and Annette. She loves cooking, taking the girls on explores, and writing. Melissa blogs at The Cross and the Kitchen Sink and has written the bible study guide: To Live Valiently: A Study on the Proverbs 31 Woman.

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