Earlier this week I was interviewed in front of an audience of middle and high school students. I was asked the question, “Now that you are an older man what are three things that you might tell your 16 year old self if you had a chance to.” These could change in the years to come but this is what I told them…
Everybody’s life tells a story. Make your story an epic adventure! – I don’t want the story of my life to be a boring story. And I suspect that the same is true for you. Make up your mind now to pursue adventure. Don’t be afraid of uncertainty. Don’t steer away from risk. Don’t always take the easy road. Take your cue from Sir Bilbo Baggins who famously said one day, “I’m going on an adventure.” And he did. (Read J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit if you want to read his story.)The story of your life is being written one day at a time. If you choose to wholeheartedly follow Jesus I can promise you that your story will be anything but boring.
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31). Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Live each day with this biblical principle in mind: Obedience brings blessing! – When I choose to obey what the Word of God says I find that I experience His blessing. This has been true in all areas of my life. The two areas where I have especially seen people struggle over the years has been in the areas of finances and relationships. When God’s Word has been treated with contempt then I have watched people pay unfortunate consequences. Nona and I have sought to live our lives according to the teachings of Scripture and we have felt His blessing upon our lives. This is not to say that life is always easy but even when life has been hard we still enjoy His blessing. Hopefully this will have bountiful repercussions for you…
“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” (Psalm 112:1-2)
Live the rest of your life with the end of your life in mind! – When I die how would I want to be remembered? What would I want people to say about me? Keeping these kinds of questions in mind can be very helpful when it comes to making choices today. I think this is why Jesus and Paul were able to endure all the hardships that they went through. They kept the end of their lives in mind and wanted their lives to be pleasing in the sight of God rather than the sight of man.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
You still have a few years before you are 16 years old. And I hope that I’m around to celebrate with you. And perhaps we can share a few adventures together along the way.
Never forget that you are very loved!