I read an article today by Dr. Peter Drucker, the world-renowned management consultant. In the article Drucker recalls a time in school when his teacher asked the class: “What do you want to be remembered for?” The teacher looked at the faces of the young boys in the class and told them: ““I didn’t expect you to be able to answer [the question]. But if you still can’t answer by the time you’re fifty, you will have wasted your life.”
I think this is an excellent question to ask yourself to help gain perspective in your life, your relationships, and the how you use your God-given talents. The fifty year cutoff, however, makes me scratch my head a little.
I agree with the teacher in that we need to be planning for our future but should focus more on what we will become, not what we will be remembered for. Our earthly life is a transition. It is a time for growing; growing as a human being in relationship with others, growing in relationship with God, and growing in our ability to identify and use our strengths to serve others. Our time on earth is a time to prepare ourselves for our ultimate destination: heaven.
I’d hate to think that someone who hasn’t “figured out” their ultimate destination by the age of 50 will be excluded from heaven. I agree that the more time we delay in understanding our call to love and serve our God, the more time we have lost being able to love and serve God’s people. But with God, all things are possible, and it is never too late to change your life.
Remember the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus? One thief continued his evil ways, even chastising our Lord in his final hours on earth. But the other thief showed contrition and begged, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42) And Jesus replied, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Yes, we can waste time by not fixing our sights on Jesus and his heavenly home. But it’s never too late to turn toward that destination. I think that in addition to asking ourselves “What do I want to be remembered for?” we should be asking ourselves “Where am I in my relationship with Jesus? Where am I on my journey? Is this where you want me to be, Lord?”
Be at peace and know that you are loved!