Legacy Isn’t Just for Later
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:13–14)
The vision for Ken’s and my new book, Recalibrate Your Life (InterVarsity Press, February 2023), was born out of Ken’s ministry to those nearing retirement or recently retired, a season of life when people often search for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose—and take a harder look at those big questions that lurk in the back of all our minds (e.g., What’s my purpose? Will anyone remember me when I’m gone?). When I began hearing Ken teach on the concept of recalibrating, I was struck by his statement that, ideally, people of all ages should live with this sort of meaning-infused intentionality; we shouldn’t wait until we’re older to begin thinking about our impact beyond our lifetime. Our legacy begins now; it accumulates. And only God knows how long each of our accumulations will last—maybe 80 years or more, maybe fewer.
Presumption and procrastination tempt all of us, but this can especially be the case when it comes to considering our mortality. Who wants to think about aging and dying in their 20s or 30s? Yet, unless the subject is forced on us by the onset of adversity or a tragedy, it’s easy to reach our 40s or later before we truly begin to plan and act as though we won’t live on earth forever.
If we’re wise, though, we won’t wait for disaster to strike before we heed Scriptures like James 4:13–16. We’ll spend our time and resources, and seize opportunities that we can never get back, in a way that “treats things according to their true value,” as Ken likes to put it—the eternal as eternal, the temporal and material as fleeting.
As the mother of a one- and three-year-old, I’m often given this piece of advice by parents of older children: Remember, the days are long, but the years are short. It’s a maxim we all could stand to live by, a reminder of the brevity of life. If we’re in the midst of difficulty, that season can feel like it’ll last forever. But in the context of eternity, both earthly pleasure and earthly suffering are fleeting. What really will last are the eternal, unchanging God and His Word, and the people He has made for Himself.
Many of us live harried lives. But whether our days are busy at an office, busy with medical concerns or appointments, or busy with endless meal making and diaper changing at home, we can all benefit from recalibrating regularly so that we keep the “big picture” at the front of our minds at all times—and align our thoughts, priorities, and habits accordingly.
Purchase Recalibrate Your Life here (or anywhere that books are sold!).