Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

Thank you, everyone, for your kind birthday greetings!

I am treating myself to a second cup of coffee and pondering the significance of my birthday.

My first thought was about the difference between how the Americans and Chinese calculate a birthday.

We Americans say, "How old are you?"  We mean, "How long has it been since you were born?" The answer for me on this day is, "Fifty-Six Years."

When the Chinese think about someone's age, they are thinking about what year of life are you currently living.  A newborn baby is in its first year of life.  Yesterday was my last day in my 56th year of life.  Today is my first day in my 57th year of life. So from that perspective, I am in my 57th year.

On the one hand, a birthday is just a day. On any given day I am one day older than I was at this point a year ago - so what's the fuss?  I am only one day older than I was yesterday! Nothing has really changed, has it?

On the other hand, a birthday is like a mile marker showing you how far you have traveled down the road of life. But in the case of age we don't know how long the road will be, so the information has limited value for trip planning. It is unlikely that I will make it another 56 years - though some people have done so in the past. I might be tempted to think that I would CERTAINLY have another 20 years - or even 30 - but it is hard to say for sure.

The only sure thing is that I have lived through 56 years. Have I learned anything along the way? Certainly. Have I learned everything I should have? Certainly not!
(James 4:14) For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 
The days are fleeting. We barely get up and get started and the day is over - it's time for bed again. Our opportunities to apply ourselves to work for the glory of God are brief and we are beset with distractions. We say we will apply ourselves better tomorrow - but we are not sure we will have a tomorrow.

Questions to ask myself:
"How will you use THIS day for the glory of God?"
"To what will you apply yourself today?"
"Are you still learning, everyday?"
"Which of your goals are truly worthwhile?"
"How have you expressed your gratitude to God today?"
"How have you expressed your love to your dear ones today?"

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