What I Am, Not What I Do

From “A Wealth of Pigeons,” a cartoon collection by Harry Bliss and Steve Martin

It is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.  (Ecclesiastes 5:18–20, NIV 1984). 

My Musings – Yesterday I turned 66.  In two months I become eligible to receive full social security benefits.  God has blessed me with good health and I still “find satisfaction in [my] toilsome labor under the sun.” So, “my” plans are to continue working for the “few [remaining] days of life God has given [me]” or until I reach seventy, whichever comes first.  This is mandatory retirement age for my job, and I have no desire to learn a new one after that.  I’ll just take up painting (or something else — maybe writing) like grandma Moses.  But right now, I’m not quite ready for a deck chair, I need to be “occupied with gladness of heart.

I stated that they were my plans.  Sometimes the plans we make don’t always work out.  My plans may not work our as expected.  I know that I must remain open and flexible for whatever life (God) may bring my way. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV 1984).  Our plans do not always line up with His.  We cannot always guarantee that our plans will keep us “occupied with gladness of heart,” but we can know that His plans are best for our future hope. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9, NIV 1984). 

My Advice – Because I belong to Him, if God blesses me with a life after retirement, I will not have to sadly recount when asked “what [I] used to do.”  I can joyfully proclaim what I still am — a child of the King.  What I used to do was “a gift of God.”  What I am, and will always be is “the gift of God.”  This can be your “lot” too.  Anything else is “meaningless, meaningless, a chasing after the wind.