Friday, September 16, 2011

Are you 'the luckiest man on the face of the earth?

Are you ‘the luckiest man on the face of the earth?

“Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth”. We all remember these immortal words of Lou Gehrig as he said good bye to baseball, the fans, his friends, and really—life. He did not bemoan his fate, lament that his career was being cut short by disease, but shared his gratefulness for his life and the opportunities afforded to him.

What a shining portrait of courage, of a wisdom filled perspective of life.
Can I say ‘today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth’? Can you?

To do so, we need to be at peace with ourselves, and God. Looking back, if our life is but brief or long, we need to have a sense of comfort, of tranquility, that only comes from knowing we did our best. We participated in the causes we believed important, we put our focus on the priorities we deemed absolutely essential. While on a day to day basis, we faced daunting challenges, we never lost sight of our purpose in life.

As the apostle Paul writes, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith’. In Paul, we see a picture of contentment and confidence. He understands the huge challenges of the future. He must know how his passionate ministry might bring the gospel to more of the lost, but he humbly accepts God’s purpose for his life, and now must step aside. Paul must now place his confidence in those chosen by God to accept the mantle.

No matter what stage of our lives, you and I cannot allow the moment to pass us by. We may not know the time or place, but assuredly the opportunities to engage those life fulfilling missions in our life will come. If we recognize them and engage them with a good faith effort, our internal sense of peace will comfort us throughout our life.

Personally, I have encountered these life changing opportunities on numerous occasions. Most recently, in 2006 I was presented with the opportunity/challenge to lead the North Dakota Family Alliance. By God’s grace and providential wisdom I accepted, and now believe it was God’s plan and purpose all along that I might be prepared to advocate on behalf of Him and His plan for the family.

In Lou Gehrig’s final speech to a packed Yankee stadium in 1939, not once did he mention his records and achievements, but throughout he highlighted cherished relationships with friends and even adversaries, and most of all, his family. He spoke of the support of his wife, mother and father, and even from an unlikely source—his mother-in-law. He wanted his fans to know what was really important to him, as his life reflected.

So it is with us, our legacy is not determined in hindsight. It is put in place one day at a time as we travel through this journey we call life. If we fail to respond wisely and appropriately to opportunities placed before us, we may never have that chance again. Whether that be a career choice, a business decision, or something as foundational as being the spiritual leader of our family, our decision will determine our legacy.

Maybe the life changing opportunity for you is to immerse yourself into a cause, a ministry. Your passion, coupled with your time, talents, and treasure can truly make a difference. In some instances you might see immediate results, but in many cases your efforts will be realized by those in the future. The tree you plant today will offer shade for many generations in the future. Moses saw the Promised Land, but did not set foot on it—so it is with many whom so tirelessly labor to impact the legacy left to our children and grandchildren.

So can I say ‘today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth’? Yes. I am certain I will spend eternity with my Lord and Savior. Yes. With the NDFA I am able to fight the good fight to strengthen families and protect our family values and religious freedom. I can make a difference to save unborn lives, save marriages, to protect our right to share the gospel, and more. Whether I am able to set foot on the Promised Land or not, it is well with me.

So if you are looking for the peace of a Lou Gehrig or the confidence of a Paul, prayerfully petition the Creator in discerning your calling. And don’t pass up the opportunity; your legacy is waiting to be written.


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