Begin With the End in Mind
Kevin EastKevin East is the Executive Director of Family Matters. He and his wife Stephanie have five unbelievable kids, two of which they most recently adopted. If Kevin isn't busy with work or family, you'll probably find him in the woods near his house with a power tool. He writes at his blog, "Following to Lead". Connect with him on Twitter at @kevinteast.
- 2012 Jul 05
My son had a lizard. Key word there - had. It was a good-looking little Bearded Dragon. He was only a few years old, and my kids didn't get it until just about 6 months ago. But to them, it was their friend. And that little friend breathed his last breath two nights ago. So long, "Spike."
I went to check on my boys in the middle of the night and noticed that the little guy just died while eating some spinach. I guess that's the way you want to go if you are a Bearded Dragon...err, were a Bearded Dragon. Immediately, though, I realized I would need to break the news to my boys. They were sure to be crushed.
My wife and I have talked often about taking teachable moments as God provides them, and seizing the opportunity. For this reason, I went to bed that night praying for the lesson that could be learned through this - the lesson that would make sense to a 4 and 5 year old.
True to form, God revealed it to me. My son had come home from school the day before, touting the fact that he learned his second "habit" from school. Apparently, in his kindergarten curriculum, they are learning from the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. There must be some kid version they are using in his school.
Anyway, the habit he just learned is the second one: Begin with the end in mind. He had memorized the line, but couldn't really verbalize what it meant. It was now his opportunity to learn this "habit" for everything it has to offer.
I pulled the boys aside. They thought I was letting them know we were getting a new foster child. Unfortunately, I told them, we thought our house was "full" right now, having 5 kids under the age of 5. Instead, I told them, it was bad news.
After tears, hugs, and more tears, I thought it was a good time to bring up the lesson. To do so, I pointed out this verse:
So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
At some point, we will all die. We will all breathe our last, and pass from this earth. It is the end of life as we know it in our physical bodies. For we as Christ-followers, it is only the beginning, but that lesson is for another day.
Beginning with this end in mind, we need to count our days, and be purposeful with each one of them in how we live. When we do this - when we realize we are finite people that are deteriorating from the day we are born - we gain something. We gain a heart of wisdom. That wisdom teaches us how we want to invest each of those days.
So I figure, if I live to the average age of a male in America today - which I am not guaranteed - but if I do, that is just shy of about 11,000 days. Not many.
So for you, for me, for all of us. I challenge us all to begin with that end in mind. Let's number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. I have a feeling that if we do, it will change the decisions we make on a daily basis.
Have you ever thought about that? What would you do differently?
If you liked this post, check out Kevin's personal blog, Following to Lead, where he regularly writes on following, leading, fostering and family.