II Chronicles 21:20 – “He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.”
Imagine going to a funeral of a friend or family member. You arrive in a somber mood. Maybe reflective. You go into the church or funeral home. Greet those who are in mourning with you. Walk down the aisle toward the family. You hug them and give your condolences. Then you look into the casket and see yourself. This is your funeral! Everyone has come to mourn for you and celebrate the life you have lived. But that’s the question. Is your life worth celebrating?
I recently re-read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey and was reminded of this funeral example from the book. But it’s an important lesson to revisit. It seems obvious, but we will never make it to an unknown destination. If we don’t know where we’re going, we’ll never get there. We need to live with intention because if we don’t, we won’t be the man God wants us to be and will fill our lives with regrets. We might even die to no one’s regret. I don’t want that said about me, and I don’t think you do either.
This passage we have here is speaking of Jehoram. He was thirty-two when he became king and reigned in Jerusalem for eight years. He was inflicted with an incurable disease of the bowels and died in great pain. Nice. Next, it tells us that his people made no fire in his honor as they had done for his fathers. No one regretted Jehoram’s death because of the misery he brought to the nation. The big idea he didn’t understand is this:
Your life will direct you to the wrong destination unless you lead your life.
If we let busyness, activities, and events take us through our time on this earth, we will be purposeless and ineffective. We will have broken relationships. And, we will have wasted our chance to be used by God.
So, what do we do? Well, here’s a simple three-step plan:
First, WRITE your script. Think about all of your relationships. You could list family, friends, coworkers, or community relationships. What would you want them to say about you at your funeral? Just think of a few things from each of these relationships. What would be the core characteristics that you would want to be said of you?
Second, PLAN your script. Now that you have a list. Take some time to gauge where you are in those areas. Then map out your steps to get from where you are to your final destination. How will you get from the “you now” to the “you then?” Where are you weak? What steps can lift you toward that goal? And maybe most importantly, who can help you?
Third, LIVE your script. You made a list, you’ve figured out what you need to work on and how to do that. Now, you must live it. Be proactive with your plan, not reactive. Make it happen. It’s not going to happen on its own.
Can you imagine if you live your life with intention? Pursue our noble goals? Became the man God intended? The world would be a much different place if we took our calling as God’s men in this world.
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At 63 I have started thinking about finishing well. So many leaders, even Christian leaders, run the race but fall flat on their face before they reach the finish line. So Lord, please help my focus to always be on your first. To renew my mind with Your Word each day and to reflect your Son and his love.