In the hustle and bustle of daily life, few people take the time to consider where they are going or where they have been—until some personal upheaval jolts their sphere of activities and forces them to focus, however briefly, on the purpose of it all.
Many do not pay much attention to where they are on the road of life until they approach “middle age.” Some face middle age with calm and aplomb. Others, seeing where they are, become anxious—and may even panic.
Life passes through stages, and our activities and our understandings change with the seasons of life. Centuries ago, the famous playwright William Shakespeare reflected on this in As You Like It. The bard put it this way: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts” (Act 2, Scene 7).
It is all a part of God’s plan for us. Being a little child, a student, a carefree young adult, a beginning worker, a new parent—then, before long, we reach middle age and, if all goes well, old age. At each stage of life, we learn new lessons that are unique to that phase of our existence. We understand things at age 30 that we could not grasp at age 20. At 40, we see things we did not perceive at 30. And so it goes, as we age and (we hope) mature.
Ancient King Solomon wrote of this process.“The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray head” (Proverbs 20:29). Physical strength will diminish with the years, but should be made up for by our growth in wisdom and understanding.
We also read: “Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father” (Proverbs 17:6). Holding your child for the first time is a transforming experience for most fathers. Little children look up to their parents, and are a special blessing. “Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice” (Proverbs 23:25). Most parents will tell you that their children bring them their greatest pain and their greatest joy.
Then, there comes our exit from the stage. Though we do not like to face it, or even give it much thought, death is a certainty for everyone. As Solomon wrote: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1–2). However uncomfortable we may be thinking about this certainty for ourselves, it should be a cause for sober reflection. The Apostle Paul made it plain: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Wisdom dictates that we prepare for death both physically and spiritually, knowing that our judgment is ahead. How Christians live and work and play in this life will certainly determine not only the blessings we enjoy now, but also our reward in the Kingdom of God.
No, salvation is not earned. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). Yet, we have our part to do. Many were moved by the Apostle Peter’s powerful message on the Day of Pentecost in 31 AD, and they asked him: “What shall we do?” His response: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Wherever you are on the stage of life, it is never too late to begin to “play the part” of a Christian.
You can learn more about how to live a successful Christian life, a Way of life that works. Please read the booklets What Is a True Christian? and Your Ultimate Destiny. Read them online, download them, or request your free printed copy today.